Written evidence from Mr Brian Craven, St Helen’s Life Group [HAB0048]
Cohabitees rights attack marriage
I write to reject and object to current ideas about giving co-habiting couples equivalent rights to married couples.
Politicians should work to support and promote marriage, not to find evermore ways to bypass it.
If people freely choose not to marry, why should the law treat them as if they were married?
My key concerns are:
A public commitment to marriage promotes stability for society and for the upbringing of children. This is why marriage has particular legal status. It greatly benefits adults and children, and should be promoted. Marriage is undermined by giving the same legal rights to people who freely choose not to make a public commitment to each other.
Cohabitation is much more unstable than marriage. By the time they turn five, 53% of children of cohabiting parents will have experienced their parents’ separation; for five-year-olds with married parents, this is 15%.
The difficulties experienced by cohabiting couples are being overstated and can already be addressed by other means. Inheritance concerns can be arranged through a will, for example. It is utterly unclear how these plans would avoid giving housemates rights to one another’s property. How would it distinguish between lodgers and partners? Marriage makes these key distinctions clear in law.
Cohabiting couples have freely chosen not to marry. Extending the financial rights of marriage to cohabiting couples is akin to forcing a marriage commitment on to those couples, but without an express, public commitment to one another. That’s a nonsense!