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Keywords:

  • marriages;
  • same-sex marriage;
  • end

This article addresses four different meanings of the “end” of marriage. It rejects the broad interpretive assertion that Lawrence v. Texas and Goodridge v. Department of Public Health signal the destruction of the institution of marriage, though both are criticized for politicization and feeble legal analysis. Those decisions have provoked a backlash that may contribute to a rediscovery of and re-valuation of the importance of the institution of (conjugal) marriage, as passage of state marriage amendments suggests. If Goodridge and Lawrence show that genderless unions are the ultimate form of marriage, they would lead to the end of democratic society as well as of the institution of marriage. The fragmentation of marriage by reduction to functional relationships is myopic. While current developments may make it harder for the institution of marriage to thrive, the institution of marriage is “here to stay.”