Tuesday, August 07, 2007

No Vows, no rights-- that's the way it should be

Because common-law relationships have become so prevalent in recent years, many Canadians have simply assumed that they're entitled to the same rights as married couples.

Well, it's time for a reality check. Five years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada decreed that a common-law union is not a marriage. It was a major news story at the time, but it bears repeating.


"I think there's a common perception in society that living common-law is the same (as marriage)," she says. "So I was really quite astounded to find out that it wasn't the same."

People don't like the notion of divorce. But they like the protection of divorce laws.

If people do not want to undertake the responsibilities of marriage-- that is, promise themselves and society to live a lifelong relationship with the intent of raising children-- they should not receive benefits.

If people do not want to make that pledge, they shouldn't get the benefits.

It's not just a "piece of paper". It's a pledge to society that you will do your part to be a viable household and bring up future citizens.

Why should society support you, if you're not willing to do something for it? We have this sense of entitlement for benefits-- child tax benefits, filing jointly, etc without feeling that there is a social responsibility to receiving these benefits.

This is why the issue of same-sex marriage annoyed me. The debate was all about what people were entitled to, not what the purpose of marriage is, and what their obligations are to the rest of society.

I think there should be just one marital regime, and one way of getting the benefits associated with marriage-- not a "two-tier" system. It should be one regime, same rules for everyone.

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