The president of the Committee on Marriage and the Family of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Bishop John Hine, expressed his “special concern” for a law that “would make cohabitation equivalent to marriage,” giving them “legal recognition, with their corresponding rights and titles.”
Bishop Hine said the law has to do with “financial consequences” for cohabiting couples when they separate and that it creates one set of rules for them that are completely distinct from the rules that are applies for married couples who divorce. The bishop stressed that the State “has the duty to promote, uphold and safeguard marriage as the basis of family life, the best and most stable environment for bringing up children”.
“Couples who live together and who deliberately choose not to marry neglect the responsibilities and duties of marriage, therefore, they should also be exempt from the legal benefits,” he explained.
For this reason, he emphasized, it is not acceptable to “make cohabitation equivalent to marriage” by establishing that those who have lived together for a certain length of time should receive legal recognition.