Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Alimony Without Matrimony

Finally, finally there's a dawning realisation about the society-wide consequences of the Civil Partnership Bill. Just a month or so before it becomes law. I've only been shouting about it since last August. Still, better late than never... Even the Irish Times is starting to fret about potential, unforeseen consequences.

But I'm still perplexed about the rationale for the bill: those in favour seem to be saying that we need a legal arrangement that protects people in long term relationships who get left 'holding the baby' when their partners leave. Em, don't we have such an arrangement already? It's called marriage.

So the justifications for the cohabitation clauses in the bill are a diversion. What then is the real reason for the bill (aside from the same-sex couples issue which will only impact on a tiny minority of people)? I don't think it's just a cynical exercise in creating more work for lawyers (the Law Reform Commission who proposed the legislation would never do that surely). So what is it? My guess is that it's another measure of the increasingly misandryst culture in Ireland and elsewhere which wishes to reduce men to an inferior status in society. Feminism is no longer about equality, it's about payback. For as night follows day, the one left holding the baby will be a woman, and the vast majority of those seeking to end long-term, cohabiting relationships will be... women.

Right now the only way to get alimony is through matrimony. The Civil Partnership Bill and its sponsors are hoping to remove that inconvenience.


  1. Your blog is very good.

    This article is also very good. Given the restrictions on individual freedom of choice imposed by the Bill, one wonders to what degree it is actually constitutional given Article 40.1 and 43 of the Irish constitution, which purport to protect private property rights.

  2. Gerard, I too support marriage and attribute a lot of the confusion in our present society to the lack of strong family structures. However, I disagree that the Bill is necessarily a backward step. For instance, you pretty much say that those who are left 'holding the baby' after the end of a cohabiting relationship have only themselves to blame because they didn't get married. And that really it's their 'tough luck'. The point, I think, is that in a free society we have no way of coercing these people into marriage, and nor should we.

    I'm afraid I also strongly disagree that this is some kind of feminist plot to get "payback" against men. And your assertion that "the vast majority of those seeking to end long-term, cohabiting relationships will be women," seems extraordinary to me. Are you basing this on empirical research? Where are the statistics to bear out what, on the face of it, seems to be a completely fanciful claim? I would have thought that the vast majority of those leaving a cohabiting relationship would be men. All the evidence points to promiscuity being much higher in males (at least historically), leading one to believe they would be prone to changing partners much more than females. You talk of misandry: be careful you don't stray into misogyny.

    As I say, I don't advocate cohabiting in preference to marriage, and I believe a 100% cohabiting society would be a recipe for societal breakdown. But is that not why this Bill could prove useful? Surely it is an attempt to impose order and responsibility on those who use and discard other human beings as if they were second-hand cars? If they find they have a financial commitment to a lover it may force them to consider marriage after all, thereby achieving what you and I would like to see: a stable family framework built on the life-long commitment of marriage.

  3. Hugh - two thirds of divorces in the United States are initiated by women. Check out:

    I've seen similar (and higher) percentages from other studies and other countries (especially when 'no fault divorce' becomes the norm).

    SDaedalus - a good point: the Bill is another slide down the slippery slope of State interference in privacy and property rights. For our own good, of course :-)


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