Evidence re Marriage to Women and Equalities Committee

22.6.2021

 

The context for giving partnerships the same rights of marriage is their increasing numbers and the disadvantages that follow, especially for women and children, when those relationships break up, which they do rather more than for married couples. So, the thought is to give them the greater security that the married enjoy. However, might not an unintended consequence be to devalue marriage with its notions of commitment and thus make things worse buy undermining a culture of commitment.

And isn’t the problem with partnerships the result of them being predicated on a lack of commitment and trying to put rules around them won’t encourage that commitment. In fact men, especially, will become even more wary of any commitment and avoid any relationship which might get them entangled in the rules. In brief, rules are no substitute for the culture of commitment upheld by marriage and by reducing marriage to the same level as partnership you will only make things worse.

A better approach might be to change the tax benefit system to favour the married and provide an incentive to commitment which would be more positive all round.