Written evidence from Mr Christopher Langdown [HAB0013]
I have concerns about your proposals regarding cohabiting couples and the ramifications this will have on traditional marriage (of which I am a supporter).
Many of my friends and relatives cohabit and they certainly do not have such significant problems that seem to have been laid out. Many of them already have a will or have come to another agreement, so this helps to negate the potential concerns that have been raised.
I feel that the proposal is too 'muddy' overall. For example, how are we going to properly differentiate between the rights of partners vs lodgers? It seems to me that flat mates could receive rights under these proposals that they really should not have. No such confusion exists in marriage however as marriage law makes this difference very clear.
It should be remembered that people who are cohabiting have made a deliberate and conscious decision not to get married (as is their right). If we offer the same financial rights to cohabiting couples as we do to married couples, this is essentially going to have the same effect as imposing marriage terms on them. This is despite the fact that they have chosen to not make any public declaration to each other (which is essential to the integrity and trust involved in making a marriage work).