Written evidence from Mr Geoffrey Allen [HAB0144]
Marriage is a stable union that is a result of a commitment given in the presence of witnesses. It is a union that has proved to be beneficial to society and has been the place where children are brought up with a sense of security. Sadly, divorces do take place but even where they do, the children are provided with a degree of protection that is not afforded to children of parting couples who may have had a casual relationship.
The majority of single parent families started off as cohabiting parent families. Furthermore, the majority of abortions are carried out on unmarried women whose commitments to children are not the same as those of married women.
As a retired teacher, I have seen too many examples of children who have been reared in families that are set up through unstable relationships. The social and academic wellbeing of these children is well below that of their classmates who have benefited from the stable background of a married mother and father.
To allow cohabiting couples the same rights as married couples will blur the edges between casual relationships and true life-long commitment. It will continue the downward journey that we have travelled over recent years where true marital commitment has been increasingly undermined to the detriment of society as a whole.