Written evidence from Mr Roy Pope [HAB0148]
Here are my views/evidence submitted in evidence as follows:-
The public commitment made in wedding vows gives families great stability. The Government should recognise and promote this, rather than undermine marriage by offering equivalent rights to those who choose not to be so committed.
Parental separation is far higher for cohabitation than for marriage. More than half of children of cohabiting parents will experience their parents’ separation by the age of five, but this is only 15 per cent for children of married parents.
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.
When couples get married, they promise lifelong commitment to one another. This is why the law makes provision for the death of a spouse. Such rights should not automatically apply to cohabitees who have made no such promises.
Marriage benefits physical and mental health. Smoking and drug use is lower in married women than those cohabiting, and married men have better heart health and cancer survival rates.
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.
The Government should be raising awareness of the benefits of getting married and the legal problems with cohabiting. Making a fundamental legal change would blur the lines and reduce public awareness of the benefits of marriage.
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.