“All You Need Is Love” seemed to become the new tune this year after the White House was lit in an array of rainbow colors announcing the legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states last June.
Pop culture and Hollywood have jam-packed the idea of love into homes everywhere, but how has the public attitude about marriage changed through the years and generations?
Shannon FitzPatrick, director of the Office of Attorney for Students, said culture and society play a large factor in the millennials’ ideals of marriage.
“There is a lot of culture influence,” FitzPatrick said. “Now marriage does surround more around love.”
Eris Davis, microbiology freshman, said she believes in marriage at a young age.
“If you love someone, and you plan to be committed and faithful to them, then why not get married?” Davis said. “Especially if you plan to do it later on anyway.”
Anna Jones, nursing junior, said marriage is not something important, nor an aspiration of hers.
“I don’t really think it’s a necessity. It’s more romanticized than it needs to be,” Jones said. “I think you could live with someone and have kids, and don’t necessarily need to get a marriage certificate.”
Milena Christopher, attorney, said a consideration those looking not to get married should take into account is common law marriage.
“Without even having a ceremony or even a certificate in the state of Texas, you can actually be considered married,” Christopher said. “(Common law marriage) is an established legal relationship, so if they decide to split, everything in the relationship has to be split in half, and that can sometimes cause conflict.”
FitzPatrick said she sees a lot of common misunderstandings behind the meaning of a wedding certificate.
“We look at it through the lens of the legal side,” FitzPatrick said. “If something happens to your spouse, through common marriage, gay or straight, you have no legal rights, you have nothing to do with the funeral arrangements, no inheritance. Nothing.”
FitzPatrick said those who didn’t understand the battle of gay rights may have had a misconception of a wedding certificate.
“You lose a huge advantage without that slip of paper,” FitzPatrick said. “Which is why gay marriage is so big. Gays didn’t have the ability to have that inheritance. They didn’t have those legal rights. There’s a lot of straight people like, ‘Oh, what rights? What could possibly go wrong—we love each other.’ But it doesn’t always play out like that.”
Davis said she is glad anyone can get married if they want.
“I can’t wait to be a bride,” Davis said. “It’s about love. When you care for someone, you want to show the world that. All people should be able to have that. Gay and straight.”
J. Kama Davis, attorney, said a new attitude she has seen is the idea that marriage aligns with confinement.
“I have several friends who would rather live together and have kids together than get married, because they don’t want to be trapped,” Davis said. “That’s an attitude I’ve seen come up in the last 15 years.”
Jones said she sees her generation as hungry for different things than marriage.
“I think back in the day, everybody aspired (to have a) white picket fence, or, at least, that was the norm,” Jones said. “But since we don’t have that anymore, I think people just don’t follow it. People want to become successful on their own (and) build a life for themselves first.”