It reflects a growing attitude that marriage is in the same category as consumable items like computer accessories that can be abandoned and replaced.
Now a London man has launched a campaign against a UK-based online dating website which he says views marriage in this way. Global Personals is behind the website www.affairsdating.net, which aims at married people, encouraging them to have a fling and cheat on their partners.
The website says, “We always believe that you can meet likeminded people who are looking to have an affair, when divorce is not an option…With 365 days a year and 1000′s of local members who want to have an affair, get out there and have some fun… because life is too short!”
Some clergy say they know cases of men who may not have had the courage to start an affair, but access to an online site made it easier.
In an open letter to Ross Williams, the entrepreneur who founded Global Personals, campaigner Jon Kuhrt from Streatham says “your business helps ruins relationships, destroys families and harms the lives of children.”
Mr Kuhrt , who attends Streatham Baptist Church in south London and works for West London Mission, has had Global Personals in his sights before.
Last year he initiated a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against the company’s billboard advertising posters. The ASA said Global Personals was not in breach of industry codes but the company agreed to withdraw its posters in response to a Facebook campaign launched by Mr Kuhrt directing hundreds of protests to the company.
A year and a half on, the company went back on its undertaking and its posters appeared on public billboards in locations including Croydon, Harlesden, Greenwich, Surbiton and Dorset.
In this original campaign Mr Kuhrt said his action in making known the URL for the Global Personals site gave the company the oxygen of publicity. This time round his Facebook page makes know the company’s telephone number and encourages people to phone to make their views known.
Mr Kuhrt told Williams, “Of course people have personal responsibility for their own actions and people will always have affairs. But websites like yours promote the idea of being unfaithful and profit from it. You are a like a drug dealer who promotes what they are pushing as harmless when really they are trading in something deadly and destructive.”
So far Williams has not responded to Mr Kuhrt’s entreaties. While Global Personals are doing their best to block off protest messages, it is still possible to reach reception and politely ask for a few moments to express concern about the heartache that this dating site potentially causes.
The telephone number for Global Personals is 01753 271280