Marriage has required a male component and a female component in every human culture since the dawn of time. That is universal. What isn’t universal is that it takes one of each to make a marriage.
In fact, polygamy is also a universal form of marriage that has occurred, in one form or another, around the globe an throughout history. It is as culturally common as the monogamous marriage of one man and one woman.
According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry.
When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, the relationship is called polygyny. When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry. If a marriage includes multiple husbands and wives, its a group marriage. All have existed from place to place throughout history. Still, it is universal that each form of polygamy involved members of both sexes.
What hasn’t existed in any meaningful way is the marriage of two men or two women, at least not until the last several decades. Unlike heterosexual monogamy and heterosexual polygamy, this is a new thing.
Who gets to decide that marriage means something that it has never meant before? It might be Anthony Kennedy. If the court rules, he will redefine a universal and ancient human institution for a third of a billion Americans.
All hail Anthony Kennedy.