Written evidence from David Rodda [HAB0298]


Despite the arguments which have been brought forward, I honestly cannot see a single valid reason as to why the laws should be changed concerning the rights of cohabiting couples

The option of getting married is available to all couples, provided they are not already/still married to someone elsePeople do not think twice about the cost of a TV licence, and one can get married for less than the cost of a TV licence. If people are serious about their relationship, there is no reason that they cannot legalise it very cheaply.

The value of the institution of marriage has been recognised for thousands of years, and it was in the Dark Ages when the Christian church introduced it in a formal way to England, primarily as a way of protecting women from unfaithful men who would come and go at willEmotionally, practically and economically it has been well proven that couples who are committed thrive better than those who are not, and their children have a much greater chance of becoming useful citizens of the society.  In fact, it is the bedrock institution of a stable society.

It would be far more valuable to emphasise to cohabiting couples the value of getting married and legalising their relationship than to change the law in this matter.

One might argue that, if a couple have been living together for 20 years then they ought to be legally treated as married, and any inheritances and so on should be handled in exactly in that wayBut one can equally say, they refused to get married when they had a chance to, so why should they be treated as if they were

Here's the couple should want to legalise any inheritance but not get married, then they already have an option of making a will which could cover thatThat it is not a good enough excuse to change the law.

Many studies have shown that couples who are married are far more likely to be stable in that relationship and have a happy and productive children than those who are simply cohabiting. In any relationship between two people, there are stormy periods, but the commitment of the marriage relationship ties the two together so that they can ride out the storm and come through it stronger at the end. Overall this is always for the benefit of society.

A recent study showed that white children in an unmarried family are far more disadvantaged

If one were to talk about rights, there would have to be some type of limitation on how long a couple had been living together to qualify as being equivalent tomarried”.  So is this five years minimum, 10 years minimum, 20 years minimum… ?  How does one define the date at which this begins, since it might not be recorded. What about if the person has been coming and going, how do you consider that in the qualifications

I hope you can see that introducing rights for cohabitees opens up a minefield of problems which cannot be readily worked throughThe whole legislation will be a mess. Therefore i encourage you to instead work with the press and the media as a whole to encourage cohabitees to get married, so then these sorts of questions will not come up and they will be protected as normal.


July 2021