Marriage better than cohabitation

The Telegraph has a great article on why marriage is far better than cohabitation for children:

An in-depth study claims almost half of babies are now born outside marriage in Britain.

It goes on to warn that live-in relationships tend to be much shorter than marriages, and therefore many of these babies will end up being raised by just one parent.

The report, based on an analysis of 10,000 households over 18 years, says there are “long-term negative consequences” for those who grow up with either just a mother or a father.

Children in one-parent families do worse at school, are less likely to get good jobs and suffer more health problems, it claims.

“The time couples spend living together in cohabiting unions before either marrying each other or separating is usually very short, the median duration being about two years.

“The unions that produce children are much less likely to be converted into marriage and more likely to break up than childless ones.”

He said only 35 per cent of cohabiting couples stay together until their children turn 16, compared with 70 per cent of married couples.

So not only is it bad for children to be born outside of wedlock, as they are more likely to be raised by only one parent, but if a couple has children while living together they are less likely to actually get married. This is worrying, considering the number of couples who live together these days and then may consider getting married once having children.

But none of this is new. We have always known marriage was best. Even some strong liberals recognise this. Why is this not accepted by parliament? Why does it take a Christian party to stand up and say we need to promote marriage? It is obviously far better than cohabitation and so should be promoted by all politicians.

The policies of parliament over the past few years, such as civil unions, and giving cohabiting couples essentially the same rights and responsibilities as married couples (such as 50/50 division of assets), have not been based on what is best for children. Rather they are based on ideology.

Marriage is a contract between two people to stick together for life. It exists to provide a secure home to raise children in. It is basically a contract that the two now wish to be considered as one – ie all assets are owned collectively (to be split 50/50 in the event of divorce, or all inherited by the other in the event of death), each has the responsibilities of the next of kin, one for tax purposes (income splitting) etc. To force the conditions of this contract on people who have not signed it (cohabiting couples) is not only immoral, but a breach of basic contract law.

It is akin to forced marriages, which most of us find unacceptable, but is in fact worse than this. If parents arrange a marriage of their child against the child’s will, at least the parents will generally have given some thought to who they are marrying the child to. But if the government passes a law effectively forcing people into a marriage situation, this applies whoever they happen to be living with – and in some cases this might be someone undesirable whom no parent would ever force their child into a marriage with. Somehow we find it abhorrent when parents force a child into marriage, but perfectly ok when the government effectively does this indiscriminately to thousands of couples at the stroke of a pen.

We must rebuild a marriage culture, and encourage and strengthen marriage, rather than undermining it.

Hat tip: Family First

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