Now that we've extended marriage to all let's not make it compulsory


Recent years have seen significant changes in marriage: it's now essentially available to all potential pair couplings of whatever gender definition one wants to use. That doesn't therefore mean that it should become compulsory though. And yet that is roughly what is being proposed:

In 2007, the Law Commission recommended reforming the laws that apply to cohabitants if they separate but no legislation followed. There are nearly 6 million unmarried people living together, many under the illusion that they have the same rights as married couples if they separate.

Resolution is calling for a legal framework of rights and responsibilities for unmarried, cohabiting couples to provide some legal protection and secure fairer outcomes at the time of a couple’s separation or on the death of one partner.

To which our answer is no. For we are believers in choice.

Believers in choice over who you might mingle genitalia with, as we always have been. And also choice over who you might share accommodation with. And even choice as to the economic arrangements that you might want to make surrounding who you mingle or share with. That choice is there in the law as it stands. One is entirely at liberty to live with someone without making formal economic arrangements. One is also able to take up that contract of marriage, something well defined in law. This current suggestion is that that first choice should no longer be available. And as a reduction in choice we're therefore against it.

There is the point of any children that might come from a relationship but their rights and the responsibilities of the parents are already well defined in law.

Essentially the proposal is to introduce common law marriage as a legal position. And English law (except in very odd circumstances involving being in foreign) simply has never recognised it. For the plain and simple reason that if yout want the protections of the contract of marriage then go and get married. Now that all can do so it really isn't the time to make it compulsory.