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Consensual union n

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Consensual union n  (CONSENSUAL union N)

In some countries a legal union can be established only through a civil marriage1 performed by an official of the state; in other countries a religious marriage2 in accordance with the regulations of a church is recognized as having legal force. Social or legal recognition may be given under various conditions in different countries to stable onions which have not been solemnized by a legal or religious ceremony. Different types of relationship and degrees of social acceptance are implied in terms applied to these unions, but their significance varies widely in different countries. The term consensual union3 implies a socially recognized stable union; the term common law marriage3 has a similar connotation. The terms free unions3, concubinage3, illicit union3 or cohabitation3 (cf. 512-3) may have different meanings according to the context. The term conjugal union3 has been used by some demographers to include both legal unions and more or less stable illegal unions. Two persons of opposite sexes living in stable union, whether legal or not, are called a couple4.

  • 3. A concubine in the restricted sense is a woman with an accepted conjugal status inferior to that of a legally recognized wife, particularly in polygynous societies. In other societies, however, the word concubine is used loosely to denote any woman other than a wife living in conjugal union with a man.
    cohabitation n, — cohabit v., to live in conjugal union.