Written evidence Nichola Whyman [HAB0062]

 

About me: I am a member of the public, and keenly interested in the wellbeing of individuals, families and children which is why I feel it’s important to engage with the Government when calls are made for evidence via public consultations.

 

I do not believe that it is in the interest of individuals or society to afford the same legal status to co-habiting couples as to married couples.

 

Marriage requires a public commitment, which as a by product promotes longer lasting relationship commitment. Moving in together in contrast can be quickly done and just as quickly undone – no vows or promises are made that provide an anchor when changing emotions inevitably occur. It is clear from impartial studies and statistics that marriage greatly benefits society by providing stability for couples and raising children. For example, by the time they turn five, 53% of children of cohabiting parents will have experienced their parents’ separation - but for five-year-olds with married parents, this is just 15%.

The physical and mental health of the couple is also improved by marriage (not co-habiting) They report - smoking and recreational drug usage is much less common among married women than cohabitees. Married men have better cardiovascular health and better cancer survival rates, a lower risk of depression and greater satisfaction in retirement.

Yes, marriages are not perfect because people are not perfect…however it is by far the best and most successfully life choice for couples wanting to live together and/or raise a family.

For this reason, marriage should retain its particular legal status and should be promoted. We ought not to undermine marriage by allowing the other arrangements people choose to enter into to have the same legal rights. Civil partnerships are already available for all couples which includes no life-long commitment, so if couples want the legal protections of marriage, they should get married.

July 2021