Written evidence submitted by Mr Robert Fallon [HAB0060]
Call for Evidence on Cohabitation
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would like to respond to the Call for Evidence as follows:
- Society in the UK is changing very rapidly, and is moving away from the ‘traditional structures’ towards more ‘fluid’ arrangements, which require less commitment, with the result of decreased stability within relationships. Some may consider this acceptable even desirable, but a major impact is felt by children who are increasingly being raised in broken families which has a substantial effect on their mental well-being, understanding of human relationships and worldview (not to mention the other measured negative outcomes such as child poverty which extends directly from family breakdown).
- For thousands of years marriage – resulting in the nuclear family - has been the building block of society, which is why it is recognised with a special status. It has been spectacularly successful in allowing society to flourish in the way it has. There is no question that giving cohabitation similar rights is undermining marriage. Marriage is tried and tested over thousands of years, cohabitation is not!
- Already, the legal rights afforded by marriage are available to all – by getting married. There is no need to extend this is people who are choosing not to get married.
- Marriage involves a lifelong commitment, which gives it its stability. Relationships without this lifelong commitment should not be given special legal status. Creating a second alternative to marriage is completely unnecessary and will profoundly undermine marriage.
- It is this lifelong commitment that allows distinction between committed relationships and more casual cohabiting couples e.g. housemates! This mechanism already exists, works well and isn’t broken, so doesn’t need fixing!