According to the BBC more than three-quarters of couples live together before marriage (me included – though not before marriage, that implies I actually want to get married), and one in four children is born to parents who are cohabiting.
If the new law is introduced (this won’t be until 2007, at least) cohabitees could make the same financial claims as divorcees and lawyers have suggested the entitlements should apply after couples have lived together for two years.
I hope that like me you’re thinking ‘Wow, a step in the right direction! Down with heteronormative marriage practices!’, if you are, you are about to roll your eyes and groan.
Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips told the BBC changing the law would undermine marriage.
She said: "This idea that society is changing and therefore the law has to change to keep up with it is wrong, in my view, historically the law has led the progressive dismemberment of marriage by stripping it progressively of meaning.”
So, is Melanie actually saying that the law shouldn’t be changed to keep up with changes in society? If this is the case, how widely does she want to apply this theory? I mean, back in the old days it was perfectly legal to kill a Welshman with a crossbow on a Sunday. Thankfully this is no longer the case, as of a year or two ago. I would imagine this is a positive law change reflecting a change in society – no?
Ok, that’s a little different, but isn’t the premise the same – refusing to adapt laws to a changing society is utterly ridiculous.
In summation – Cohabiting couples in the UK may be on their way to receiving them same rights as married couples. Can you see a day on the horizon when marriage is not the be all and end all of coupledom in our society – nay, of everything a girl is brought up to do in our society.