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thomas davison
Party Leader

Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 3814
Location: northumberland

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:46 pm    Post subject: LIVING TOGETHER IS NOT EQUAL TO MARRIAGE SAYS DUNCAN SMITH Reply with quote

IDS: It’s just wrong to say living together is the equal of marriage
By Tim Shipman

Last updated at 12:53 AM on 5th November 2011

It is wrong to say that living together is the same as marriage, Iain Duncan Smith declared last night.
In an assault on the consensus that all relationships are morally equal, he said the Government should fight for the traditional family – which he called ‘the most vital part of society’.
The Work and Pensions Secretary warned that failure to support marriage would lead to further social breakdown, and blamed broken homes for funnelling children into the gangs that ran rampant during the summer riots.

Happily married: Iain Duncan Smith with his wife Betsy
Mr Duncan Smith repeated the Government’s pledge to introduce tax breaks for married couples before the next election, arguing that politicians should not be ‘neutral’ about which kinds of families are best for the country.

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In a speech in honour of the late Tory peer and family campaigner Janet Young, he delivered his most outspoken remarks yet about why it is better for couples to marry.
‘It is important to understand that there is a difference between cohabiting and marriage,’ he said. ‘People will make their own choices about their relationships, but they should understand what those choices are. The relationships are not the same – and there are consequences for us all.’
Marriage rates have more than halved in the last 40 years, while the number of lone-parent households has increased by an average of 26,000 a year over the past 30 years.
Mr Duncan Smith warned: ‘At the heart of so much social breakdown sits the collapse of a forgotten institution. That institution is the family, and it is absolutely fundamental to a stable society.
‘Strong families are where children pick up their basic values, learn the difference between right and wrong, and understand the value of loving and committed relationships.’ He pointed out that studies have shown about one in 11 married couples split up before their child’s fifth birthday, compared with one in three unmarried ones.
Mr Duncan Smith added that children who do not grow up in a two-parent family were 75 per cent more likely to fail at school, 70 per cent more likely to become addicted to drugs and 50 per cent more likely to have an alcohol problem.
‘Some still say that we must be neutral towards family life,’ he said. ‘But they are wrong. You cannot be neutral when the system you inherited is already so anti-family.
‘We will have to fight to ensure that the Government leaves a strong legacy on the family. After all, family is the most vital part of society.’
Mr Duncan Smith also delivered a withering verdict on the recent Norgrove report into the future of family courts, which ruled out giving fathers or grandparents any legal rights to see children.
He condemned the court system ‘which, like far too many institutions of the State, seems to have forgotten the importance of the father and the extended family’.
Taking on the social work establishment that believes all family structures are as good as each other, he said: ‘There is nothing progressive about having children growing up in broken and abusive homes, many of whom go to primary school unable to speak, are excluded from secondary school and then find themselves next on the gang leaders’ recruitment list.’

Fiona Weir, chief executive of single parents charity Gingerbread, criticised the tone of the remarks.
‘The vast majority of children growing up in single-parent families do so healthily and happily,’ she said. ‘Families need more support to help them handle conflict, and more protection from financial hardship. They don’t need government finger-wagging.’

However, Mr Duncan Smith did win strong support from Norman Wells, the director of the Family Education Trust. He said: ‘After so many years of hearing politicians and policymakers pretending that all family forms are of equal value to society, it is refreshing to hear a government minister spelling out the importance of marriage for stable family life and the welfare of children, based on the research evidence.’

I agree wholeheartedlly with IDS. Marriage is the gold standard and every aspect of government policy and practice should support that. However, gold standards is not a target that everyone can realistically obtain. Some of us can shoot for silver and bronze to do the best we can for out children who need to be cared for equally during and after separation from our partners. The Norgove review proposals are a disaster for children as effectively the mother still retains licence to push out the father if she so chooses.
Children must be raised by both parents, preferably a man and a woman, and the law should support fathers as equals to mothers. The legal standard and presumption for normal separated couples must be shared care of the children. The Norgrove proposals for family law must be kicked into touch, being a result of pandering to special interest anti-father women's groups and other feminist-leaning bodies including the judiciary. Norgrove's ideas will lead to more injustice, more efficiently delivered.
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