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"But that was gravy." In fact, love and marriage were once widely regarded as incompatible with one another.

Apart from the couples' gender, these events were almost indistinguishable from other marriages of the era.

Twelfth-century liturgies for same-sex unions — also known as "spiritual brotherhoods" — included the recital of marriage prayers, the joining of hands at the altar, and a ceremonial kiss.

This new definition opened the door to gays and lesbians claiming a right to be married, too.

"We now fit under the Western philosophy of marriage," said E. Graff, a lesbian and the author of In one very real sense, Coontz says, opponents of gay marriage are correct when they say traditional marriage has been undermined.

The purpose of marriage was the production of heirs, as implied by the Latin word When did the church get involved?