Ross Clark: Cohabiting couples can’t have their cake and eat it

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When someone in authority says “these reforms will bring the law into line with public expectation and attitudes”, you know that it is time to worry. Those were the words of Professor Elizabeth Cooke, of the Law Commission, as she proposed a change in the law to give the surviving half of an unmarried couple the automatic right to inherit a proportion of their late partner’s wealth. At present, unmarried couples who die intestate may have to go to court when one dies and can face a challenge from their partner’s family.

At the risk of sounding like an outraged Victorian parson snooping through the windows of cottages on the lookout for couples living in sin, I can’t see a problem with the law as it stands. Yes, it does make life difficult for couples who can’t be bothered either to get married or make a will. But there is every reason why the law should encourage marriage.

It is not a case of moralising, but money.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexualityYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted October 30, 2009 at 6:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Hakkatan wrote:

I forget when “palimony” was first awarded to a celebrity couple who never wed and then broke up - but I thought it was a very bad decision.  When “near-marriages” are treated in law like real marriages, then there is less incentive to get married.

Cohabiting couples (either heterosexual or homosexual) should have none of the rights of marriage.  They should, however, have all the responsibilities involved in marriage when children are part of the household - the father of the child should be liable for child support if the couple breaks up.

It has been shown time and again that children who are healthy members of society are best produced by heterosexual married couples who remain married.  The more we encourage stable marriages, the better off we will be.  Since this is a broken and sinful world, there will always be bad marriages, even among committed Christians - but the difficulty in following an ideal does not make it only one choice among several equally valid ones.  The ideal is still what is ideal.

October 30, 9:14 am | [comment link]
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