Written evidence from Pastor David Lyon [HAB0242]




I have been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and I write in response to your call for evidence in relation to the rights of cohabiting couples, and whether these should be made equal to those of married couples. 


I wish to make the following points:


              Marriage and cohabitation are not the same.  Marriage involves a couple in making public vows of lifelong commitment to one another, which is why the law makes provision for the death of a spouse.  Cohabiting couples have the right to marry and if so to benefit from the legal protection offered to married couples.  Such rights should not automatically apply to cohabiting couples who have made no such promises.


              Moreover, there are no difficulties that cohabiting couples cant already address through other means. Inheritance concerns can be dealt with by writing a will, for example. Creating another additional relationship status is completely unnecessary. Couples either choose to get married or not. Extending rights to an extra cohabitinggroup undermines marriage, blurs the distinction and creates confusion.


July 2021