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The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian conquistador in 1565 in St.
Augustine (Spanish Florida), is the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in what is now the continental United States. President John Adams wrote in his diary that the ideal spouse was willing to "palliate faults and mistakes, to put the best construction upon words and actions, and to forgive injuries." While about 96% of residents in their 70s and 80s were married at least once, many were widowed due to the death of their spouses.
Marriages can be terminated by annulment, divorce or death of a spouse.
Divorce (known as dissolution of marriage in some states) laws vary by state, and address issues such as how the two spouses divide their property, how children will be cared for, and support obligations of one spouse toward the other.
Marriage laws have changed considerably during United States history, including the removal of bans on interracial marriage and same-sex marriage.
In 2009, there were 2,077,000 marriages, according to the Census bureau.
According to the 2008-2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, 51.5% of males and 47.7% of females over the age of 15 were married.
Domestic partnerships are a version of civil unions.
Registration and recognition are functions of states, localities, or employers; such unions may be available to couples of the same sex and, sometimes, opposite sex.
This results in a high rate of single mother households among African Americans compared with other ethnic groups (White, African American, Native Americans, Asian, Hispanic).
In the United States, the two ethnic groups with the highest marriage rates included Asians with 58.5% and Whites with 52.9%.
Weddings are sometimes held outdoors or in other buildings instead of churches, and officiants may not be religious leaders but other people licensed by the state.