Marriage in the United States is a legal, social, and religious institution.The legal recognition of marriage is regulated by individual states, each of which sets an "age of majority" at which individuals are free to enter into marriage solely on their own consent, as well as in what ages underage persons are able to marry with parental and/or judicial consent.Marriage laws have changed considerably during United States history, including the removal of bans on interracial marriage and same-sex marriage.
A civil union is "a formal union between two people of the same or of different genders which results in, but falls short of, marriage-like rights and obligations," according to one view.
Domestic partnerships are a version of civil unions.
Registration and recognition are functions of states, localities, or employers; such unions may be available to couples of the same sex and, sometimes, opposite sex.
The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian conquistador in 1565 in St.
Augustine (Spanish Florida), is the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in what is now the continental United States. President John Adams wrote in his diary that the ideal spouse was willing to "palliate faults and mistakes, to put the best construction upon words and actions, and to forgive injuries." While about 96% of residents in their 70s and 80s were married at least once, many were widowed due to the death of their spouses.