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Laws that treat married persons in a different manner than they treat single persons permeate nearly every field of social regulation in this country - taxation, torts, evidence, social welfare, inheritance, adoption, and on and on. In this article I inquire into the patterns these laws form and the central benefits and obligations that marriage entails, a task few scholars have undertaken in recent years. I have done so because same-sex couples, a large group not previously eligible to marry under the laws of any American jurisdiction, may be on the brink of securing the opportunity to do so in Hawaii.' I wanted to know the benefits and burdens that legal marriage might extend to this group and ask whether the consequences would be sensible and appropriate for same-sex couples. How, in other words, would this institution, molded over time for persons of different sexes, apply to those with different differences?