April 18, 2000
Pressure to marry won't stop
cohabitation in England
A story published today by the Guardian
reports that government measures encouraging marriage would be unlikely to reduce
breakdowns among cohabiting couples with children, according to a new report.
The co-authors, Carol Smart and Pippa Stevens of the center for
research on family, kinship and childhood at Leeds University, said that "even though
the government might wish to promote marriage as an ideal form of co-residence, it would
not be ideal for many cohabitees".
The report suggests that it would be more beneficial to make the
legal position of unwed couples more like that of married ones after cohabitation had
evolved into a de facto marriage with the passage of time, bestowing more equal property
and parental rights. This approach has been used in Canada.
Such steps would need to be part of a much wider policy strategy
"designed to support parenthood per se... the most important challenge will be to
devise family polices which support married and unmarried, co-resident and separated
The story says that in Britain there are now more than 1.5 million
heterosexual cohabiting couples, mostly in their twenties and thirties.
The connection between the rise in cohabitation and the decline of
marriage is not straightforward, with some 70% of marriages in Britain now preceded by a
period spent "living together". Nonetheless, data shows that cohabitations do
not last as long as marriages, and that marriages which begin after cohabitation do not
last as long as those which do not.
Friday, April 14, 2000
British couple in 'family' battle
A story published today in the London Times reports that a
gay couple launched a High Court battle yesterday for the right to live as a
"family" in Britain.
Belfast-born Nigel McCollum challenged the refusal by Home
Office immigration authorities to allow Renato Lozano, a Brazilian citizen, to enter the
UK as his same-sex partner.
Stephanie Harrison, appearing for the couple, said: "On
the unchallenged facts of this case, [McCollum's] partner is a family member."
To deny Mr Lozano admission and order his expulsion negated
Mr McCollum's own rights of residence in the UK, she told Mr Justice Turner, sitting in
Ms. Harrison challenged the way in which the immigration
authorities operated a Home Office discretionary policy, which places a minimum time limit
on how long couples have to live together - at present four years - "in a
relationship akin to marriage" before they are treated as a
Mr Lozano was originally granted leave to enter the UK for
six months as a visitor in June 1994 and then allowed to remain as a student until July
1998. In June 1995, he met Mr McCollum, now 33, and five months later the couple started
living together at a London flat.
Both men went abroad and when Mr Lozano, now 28, returned to
the UK from Zurich in November 1998, he was refused leave to enter as a visitor.
A further application for Mr Lozano to be allowed to remain
on the basis that he was involved in a stable relationship with Mr McCollum, who had also
returned to the UK, was refused in February last year.
The case was adjourned to a later date to give the Home
Office time to prepare legal submissions for the court.