Written evidence submitted by Mrs J Longman [HAB0125]
Cohabitation rights consultation
I am a private individual concerned about the undermining of the status of marriage. As someone who has been married for over 40 years, I feel qualified to make a contribution.
The points I wish to make are as follows:
The Government should recognise the great strength and stability which marriage confers both to the family and society as a whole. It should not seek to undermine marriage by offering equivalent rights to those who choose not to make a long term commitment.
Family breakdown is exceedingly expensive for society, costing the public purse over £50bn each year. This will only worsen if the special legal status of marriage is not maintained and promoted.
Creating another additional relationship status is completely unnecessary. Couples either choose to get married or not. Extending rights to an extra ‘cohabiting’ group undermines marriage and creates confusion. A legal minefield will be created.
There are no difficulties that cohabiting couples can’t already address through other means. Inheritance concerns can be dealt with by writing a will, for example. Marriage makes a clear distinction between couples in a permanent relationship and those who share a home as housemates or lodgers. Giving special legal status to cohabitation would blur these lines.