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Marriages can be performed in a secular civil ceremony or in a religious setting via a wedding ceremony.The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved, and any offspring they may produce.
These trends coincide with the broader human rights movement.
Marriage can be recognized by a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community or peers. Civil marriage, which does not exist in some countries, is marriage without religious content carried out by a government institution in accordance with the marriage laws of the jurisdiction, and recognised as creating the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony.
When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal.
Individuals may marry for several reasons, including legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, and religious purposes.
Conversely, such practices may be outlawed and penalized in parts of the world out of concerns for women's rights and because of international law.
In developed parts of the world, there has been a general trend towards ensuring equal rights within marriage for women and legally recognizing the marriages of interfaith or interracial, and same-sex couples.