This question is mostly directed towards the atheists (as I know we have some non-athiests amongst us).

(FYI for the religious, atheists tend not to get married in churches but in a registry office or City Hall etc)

I'm not specifically talking about gay marriage, just marriage in general. 

Would you get married? Or have you got married for the legal privileges that go along with marriage and perhaps as a gesture of love to a special person. Maybe you are one of these people who feel as long as you are together thats all that matters?

Personally I am all for marriage as a romantic gesture and the legal benefits are just a really great bonus that go along with it. 

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No, I'm from Ireland and we defiantly don't have that here. You have to file for a divorce of annulment and its not a quick process. 

Marriage is great when that is what the people involved want and what works for them. Marriage like many other things isn't for everyone. I'm not married right now due to financial reasons. After I'm done with grad school (if I even get in next year) my partner and I will likely get married because that will be for us and our future the most logical thing to do.

I married a third time and found the right one, where our individual hangups dampen each other's without amphlifying. I a maturing humanist/atheist, she a newage spiritual humanist. Our indivdual beliefs do not cross terribly, but I would allow less as 'truth' due to my metaphysical/intellectual commitments.

It just seemed to be a way to create a legal frame work/construct for common and individual assets and keep our families on the same page.

It has worked.

We had considered not marrying, but too much was needing some protection.

We both support the extension/protection of marriage for LGBT folks, and have voted and been involved with activism accordingly. We both continue to be vocal for LGBT rights.

Our present economy has strained our relationship, but we are very much both on the same page. We do seem to have different attitudes to 'money', which makes it interesting..;p)

My husband and I were married about 5 years ago.  We never thought that we would be allowed to marry because of the religious right.  We decided to marry purely out of the legal benefits that go with being married .  I am just wary now.  Now that we are registered as gay married, I fear that when the governments go religious in the coming years that we will be ripped out of our homes and killed.  But that is just society has led me to think, other than that I am pretty happy.

Define "romantic gesture". If anything it's a gesture of insecurity and distrust. It's basically saying "Well, we're married, so NOW we definitely can't have sex with other people... you know, because without that piece of paper there's realistically no way we would stop ourselves from doing so." These are the same people who say "trust" when you ask them what the key to a relationship is. And you want to announce this publically? You know that saying "Ignorance is bliss"? A marriage is a grand display of bliss.

Consequently it's worth noting that it hasn't exactly done women a lot of justice. Often, the difference between a wife and a prostitute is simply a matter of the number of men with whom she's regularly having sex.

I could write an encyclopedia of reasons marriage is wrong or bad. But will all that deter me from getting married? I don't know. But sadly I think not. And I find that kind of disturbing.

You can dislike the idea of it or dislike how people have used it. That doesn't mean it can't be what you think it should be when/if you get married. It doesn't mean you can't do it right. A lot of people do it right: gladly, and with eyes open.

The point of marriage is about commitment not ownership (at least not anymore)

Re: "Often, the difference between a wife and a prostitute is simply a matter of the number of men with whom she's regularly having sex."

Um, no.

A. Why wife-as-prostitute instead of husband-as-john?

B. "Why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet. What does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything -- the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things. All of it, all the time, everyday. You're saying, 'You're life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness.'" -- from the movie Shall We Dance

The point of 'marriage like prositution' was made during a Feminist Theory class several years ago. It seemed that while is was true, and continues to be 'true' in some cultures, many of folks have moved on.

My wife and I have a very open relationship, but would never consider cheating. We both have male and female friends, but no privilages are indulged. I tried cheating once, just before we got married, but it felt so awful that I could not carry it out. I figured that at that moment I had made a true decision on commitment.

It has been hard at times. We both have rather divergent views, but agree on what seems to be important to us.  

It depends on your definition of marriage. If you mean by mariage two people sharing their life till they die.
I don't have a problem with and it's natural for human beings for their mental health to be connected with a special person and living with him.

What I mind is the classic mariage that consists in having all those rituals(religious mostly) and gathering people together so that they bless the connection between two people.

Personnaly, I don't think two people in love with each other need mariage to confirm their feelings since anybody can pretend that he maried a woman because he loved her. I guess the commitment must be guaranteed between every couple even without marriage. 

I say scrap the idea of marriage and replace it with a civil union good for 5 year minimum increments (ie 15 years or life are options).  If you don't renew, no more union and no need for a divorce (value of assets acquired during the union are spilt 50/50 or as otherwise specified in a pre-union contract).

I agree, I think the state should define civil unions only, gay or straight, and with equal benefits across the board. If you want to be traditionally married, then by all means, go to a church and call yourself "married".

Or do like my wife and I, who wanted to be married but not traditionally, so we had a secular ceremony on a boat, presided over by the ship's captain.

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