It seems Valentine's Day, when 10 percent of all marriage proposals take place, is one of the few constants in the institution of marriage. Fifty years ago, marriage was between a man and a woman barely into their twenties, of the same race and social class, till death did them part. But marriage today is wildly different. In increasing numbers, Americans no longer feel the need to marry to have sex, have a baby, or even to have financial stability. In short, Americans are redefining what marriage is and why they marry. Here are seven marriage trends in the US.
New York City lawmakers voted Feb. 2, 2011 to ban smoking outdoors in public parks, public beaches, and even Times Square. The Big Apple is the latest major US city to prohibit smoking in parks and other public spaces, adopting laws that are tougher than its home state's. Such laws are a boon to public health and reduce litter in urban parks, say supporters. Critics say they are yet another instance of "big government" encroachment on personal freedoms and are almost impossible to enforce. In all, almost 500 cities, counties, and towns have banned smoking in public parks. Here are five big cities that have done so.