Marriage seems universal, occurring at all times and in all cultures. The implications of marriage differ vastly across countries, yet it seems that all countries recognize marriages (at least if among consenting, hetero-sexual adults) performed in other countries. Is this so? Are there any countries, any legislations, where the concept of marriage simply doesn't exist as a legal construct?

  • Is the question time-constrained? If not, USA pre-Civil-War may count. – user4012 Jan 7 '13 at 15:01

Not sure if this matches exactly what you seek, but there's one problem with finding such a country (or help :) - it must NOT have adopted the "UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights", which states:

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

I'm not aware of any such country that both have not signed, AND doesn't have a marriage law.

If you don't confine the question to current, UN-recognized countries:

  • Mosuo (an ethnic minority in China) do not have traditional marriages.

  • USA as a state wasn't terribly involved with marriages on a legal level at early stages.

    In UK, same was true before The Marriage Act (1753).

  • 2
    The permissive right to marry does not mean that state has to regulate marriage. In fact there are countries which do not regulate marriages. As long as they do not forbid marriage its compliant with UN's Declaration. – doc Jul 3 '15 at 11:30
  • @doc - examples of " In fact there are countries which do not regulate marriages. " might be worth answering with – user4012 Jul 4 '15 at 1:11
  • 1
    There is no civil marriage in many Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, Syria,[7] Jordan,[8] UAE,[9] Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania, as well as in Indonesia,[10] Iran and Israel, among others; from wikipedia – doc Jul 4 '15 at 15:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .