Today we find ourselves at a crossroads of two powerful, unrelenting currents that are completely at odds with one another. The movement for legal recognition of same-sex unions has gone beyond the separate but equal status of civil unions to demand equality in marriage for all couples. Progress is being made on many fronts: mayoral action, clergy officiating at same-sex marriage and union ceremonies, state legislative responses, and street protests, to name a few. Meanwhile, opposition to same-sex marriage has also been gathering strength. The struggle is sure to continue unabated for some time to come, pitting those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman—and who seek to codify this belief in the U.S. Constitution—against those who find the basis for marriage between two loving, committed individuals not only in the history of our civil rights legislation and court decisions, but also in scripture and sacred religious traditions. Those who believe in extending to same-sex couples the 1,049 rights conferred by marriage as well as the supportive embrace of religious communities seek to strengthen the institution of marriage by making it inclusive and by passing laws and broadening doctrines to uphold marriage rights for all couples. This three-volume set clarifies the legal, political, religious, cultural, and social ramifications of same-sex marriage for gay and lesbian couples and their families and friends, and for the general public interested in the future of civil rights in the United States.