Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Marriage works. Accept no substitutes

[...] As yesterday’s leading article pointed out, there has been agitation to recognise “common-law” marriage ever since the Civil Partnerships Act gave decent and proper rights to gay couples. “Such rights,” it said, “were denied to cohabiting heterosexuals on the grounds that they could, at any time, get married. That answer may have been logical, but it failed to still a sense of unfairness.”

Gosh. I never knew that illogical whining could trigger a cumbersome overhauling of the law. I shall start listing my own illogical prejudices today. But this is rubbish! Divorce is now so accessible that anybody who wants the protections of marriage can get them – unless their cohabiting partner doesn’t agree, in which case, caveat emptor. You need not affront your Dawkins principles by going to church, or betray your anarchist instincts by entering a register office. You can now marry in a bingo hall or a Sea Life Centre. A licence costs only £63.50.

Some couples – I know and love many – jointly decide not to marry. Good luck to them. They don’t whimper for new laws; if they are wise they make legal arrangements about property ownership (like becoming tenants-in-common with appropriate shares) and ensure joint responsibility for children. If they are not wise, then by definition they are fools. You cannot frame every law to suit fools, even fools for love. Read more

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