Good point ... as far as it goes. (Fair warning about my perspective: I've been married once, for over 26 years and counting.) I believe the law does have a legitimate place in recognizing and protecting families. I don't think it has legitimacy in picking and choosing which families to recognize; we are not very many years past prohibitions on "interracial" marriage (and still not past wrapping ourselves up in the fiction of "race" in the first place), and many still don't grasp that if we want to protect a family structure in which children can grow up safely, then those families which are headed by same-sex couples need and deserve the same protection as the rest of us. But marriage is not about surges of emotion, although those are certainly a motivating factor (actually, one of the best) for entering into it. Marriage is about commitment. The divorce rate is so high, IMO, largely because people don't want a commitment so much as they want an event to celebrate the surges of emotion, and therefore they are unprepared for the fact that the emotion doesn't last. Two qualifications here: (1) Not all marriages end because of a lack of commitment. Making that commitment requires a gamble on someone else, and many people are capable of deceiving a partner or even themselves about themselves or their degree of commitment. I am not in any way suggesting that divorce should be prohibited or restricted; I just believe there are ways to prepare oneself for marriage that make it less likely. (2) The emotional landscape in a long marriage is not by any means barren. There are ups and downs, but it is possible to have a person, to whom one has been married for over a quarter century, still take one's breath away. I can cite no evidence but personal experience; believe me if you choose. A favorite author has observed: "The idea that 'being in love' is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love." -- C.S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity" I think that resonates strongly with what you have written here, but you are missing one point: If you have found "the one" and that person regards you in the same light, then a commitment becomes the logical action. Whether or not you accept the state's offer of benefits in reward for making the commitment legally recognized is, of course, up to you.