Marriage Evolves and Love Wins

Karen Patten

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.

Marriage evolves and love wins! Read how here.

It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” Obergefell et al. v. Hodges et al., U.S. Supreme Court Slip Opinion, 14-556, p. 28.

Marriage Evolves from Its Beginnings

No matter your opinion of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, it can’t be denied that in the Western world marriage evolves. The institution of marriage is being refined to pursue love as its core over procreation.

Most of us believe that those changes have moved us (especially women) in a freeing and positive direction.

  • Women are no longer considered the property of their husbands.
  • No longer is coverture the law (English common law provided that women had the right to contract and own property until such time as they were married; upon marriage that right was subsumed by the husband).
  • Interracial couples are now legally permitted to marry and their children are no longer considered “victims” or “martyrs.”
  • No longer are husbands legally permitted to physically “discipline” their wives.
  • No longer is marriage defined to include a husband’s “right of sexual access.” However, it was not until the mid to late 20th Century that marital rape was even considered a criminal act.
  • Dowry
  • Bride price
  • Child brides
  • Forced marriages
  • Arranged marriages
  • All of these past institutions have fallen out of favor in the Western world.

While these decisions may not have popular at the time, in retrospect, most of us now agree that these evolutions of the institution of marriage were a positive force.

And now, marriage is no longer the exclusive purview of couples of the same gender.

Similarity Between Inter-Racial Marriage & Same-Sex Marriage

Legal arguments on both sides of the same sex marriage debate closely mirrored the arguments made decades ago on both sides of the interracial marriage case decided by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.

As a civil rights attorney, nerdy me loved finding these audio clips of the arguments from Loving v. Virginia then and Obergefell et al. v. Hodges et al. now. While the language has been “prettied up” a little bit – the arguments remained largely the same.

One of the arguments in both cases centered around children in both interracial and same sex families. In 1967, children of interracial parents were argued to be “victims” or “martyrs” of these interracial relationships. Today, Justice Scalia inquired if the children of same sex parents weren’t subject to a “deleterious effect.” He made his inquiry despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of research reveals that children raised by same sex parents are at absolutely no disadvantage.

What Does This Evolution of Marriage Mean?

This is a landmark civil rights decision. I was both moved and excited by the Court’s decision – for people everywhere. I’m happy for couples everywhere who have been legally normalized. I’m happy for children everywhere who can now feel secure in their family structure. I’m happy for couples who now have financial security that they may not have had before now.

Just a smattering of the rights that straight couples have enjoyed that will now be available to same sex couples include:

  • Child Custody Rights
  • Adoption
  • Divorce
  • Estate Planning
  • Medical Issues and Decisions for Incapacitated Spouses
  • Real Estate and Business Planning
  • Insurance Equality
  • Employer Policies, Benefit Plans, and State Taxation

I’m also trying to wrap my head around what it means for me personally. Personally, it means that my partner of 20 years and I, with two young boys, can now get married and legitimize our family legally. I always proudly proclaimed, a la Oprah, that I didn’t need to be married – I was proud that we were together because we affirmatively chose, every morning, to continue our lives together. Not because we had a piece of paper that would make our dissolution difficult and complicated – which it would have been anyway.

I’m beyond happy that our two sons and so many other children now have a legally valid family structure and stability that must be recognized under the law. Marriage will make so many families more secure in so many ways – including financially. Married couples will also have the right to hospital visitations and medical decision-making for both each other and their children when necessary.

So along with the Western world’s definition of marriage, my thoughts and opinions about marriage are evolving and becoming more refined.

Marriage evolves and love wins! Read how here.

There is still work to do for all in our country to be free. Freedom remains indivisible, but we’re gaining ground one step at a time. And this decision was one of those steps.


  1. Ramona on July 1, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    It was definitely a landmark decision by the SCOTUS. The world celebrated. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. #LoveWins

  2. Earl-Leigh Designs on July 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Pinterest. I’m jealous of every wedding that takes place now that we have the site. So glad that love finally wins!

    • Karen Patten on July 1, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      There’s been so much support – it’s been really beautiful! Thank you.

  3. Brianna on July 2, 2015 at 10:30 am

    First let me say congratulations! Secondly, let me heartily second that marriage is both important and not important. for personal commitment. I personally live with a different sex partner and we are planning to get married in 7 days. Our personal journey is long and convoluted at best, but suffice to say we are so happy to have each other and happy to be able to show that commitment to the world. The commitment was there regardless of the marriage, BUT (and that is a big but) we also wanted the protections that legal marriage gives you under the law. I will never understand why people try to mix the idea of religious marriage and lawful marriage… Everyone should deserve the same familial protection under a blind law.

    • Karen Patten on July 2, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you so much for this! I wish you all the best for you upcoming wedding and marriage. I hopped over to your site and love all your ideas!

  4. Aleshea on July 2, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Pinterest is your friend. And congratulations.

    • Karen Patten on July 3, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Yes! It is sometimes my evil, time sucking friend 🙂

  5. Clare on July 3, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I am so glad that you are finally able to make a commitment in front of your family and friends. And oh yes Pinterest – I so wish that site was around when we got married. But if I were you I’d set an alarm, or hours will go by and you won’t even notice!

    • Karen Patten on July 3, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Thanks! I’m really trying to decide between running down to the courthouse at lunch with the boys (and throwing a party afterwards) and doing something a little more 🙂

  6. Christina on July 3, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    This is definitely a life changing time in our history.

  7. Diane on July 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    That is a landmark decision. I’m happy for your new legal protections.

  8. KC the Kitchen Chopper on July 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    It’s fantastic that marriage is now a lifestyle choice for all. After my divorce I told people I had no need to ever get married again. Then 4 years later The Hubby popped the question. Much to my surprise I didn’t bat an eye, said yes and never looked back. We’ll be celebrating 17 years together this August. Congrats to you and your partner. Sounds like you have a wonderful family.

    • Karen Patten on July 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Agreed – congratulations on 17 years! Thank you!

  9. LydiaF on July 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Eloquently stated. Congratulations and let me add my vote to using Pinterest to help plan your wedding. My daughter and her husband hosted their own wedding reception with ideas taken from Pinterest and Etsy.

    • Karen Patten on July 3, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      Thank you! I will be embarking on a Pintrest mission; I will be setting a daily timer 🙂

  10. Sandra on July 4, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Wedding planning is the fun part! Congratulations! I think the wedding business is going to boom . I hope to be invited to a few long awaited unions this upcoming year 🙂

    • Karen Patten on July 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm

      Yes! I’m sure you’ll see your invites piling up 🙂

  11. Jessy @ The Life Jolie on July 5, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Congratulations! It was an extremely proud moment for our country and I got a little teary-eyed when I looked on my Facebook to see all of the status updates of happy friends and family (that’s how I found out!).

    • Karen Patten on July 5, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I found out when our neighbor texted me at 10:02 a.m. (literally!) and asked if there was a wedding coming up!

  12. Katerina on July 5, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    This is truly a historic decision!

  13. […] Related Post You May Enjoy: #LoveWins […]

  14. Valerie on June 27, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I’m happy to see so much progress, even though there is more the be done. My kids are growing up very color blind and gender blind to the point they don’t even understand why it is even an issue. (both had openly gay kindergarten teachers)

  15. Paula Kiger on June 28, 2017 at 12:12 am

    YES! Thanks for sharing. #LoveIsLove


Hi, I’m Karen, the Atlanta mama, writer, and creator at Intentional Family Life. I’m a passionate advocate for intentional living so that you can experience all that you deserve for yourself and your family. Here, I inspire moms to chose what matters most and then to only do the things that move them closer to what matters most. Read More About Karen…

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