New campaign to champion marriage

A new institution was launched this week by High Court Sir Paul Coleridge to restore marriage to its central place in British society.

The Marriage Foundation is aimed at improving the public understanding of the nature and benefits of marriage.

It will champion marriage as the most stable environment to raise children in.

As marriage rates continue to decline in Britain, and more couples choose cohabiting, the foundation warns that family breakdown is still costing Britain billions each year.

Sir Paul estimated that around half a million children and adults were being drawn into the family law and justice system every year.

He described marriage and family breakdown as "one of the most destructive scourges of our time".

“The most stable family structure to raise children is within marriage. Just one in eleven married couples split by a child’s fifth birthday, compared with one in three cohabiting couples," he said.

He said that the children growing up in single parent homes were more likely to live in poverty, become involved in the criminal justice system and fail at school.

“If this is not bad enough then consider this, the financial cost to society of broken relationships is estimated to be £44 billion a year.”

The campaign will also seek to strengthen marriages and reverse the instability that characterises many modern families.

Sir Paul stressed that the campaign was not about passing moral judgements but about recognising that society will benefit from more and stronger marriages.

“Waiting for government or others to take action is merely an excuse for moaning and inactivity," he said.

“This is not going to be a cosy club for the smug and self satisfied of middle England but, we hope, the start of a national movement with the aim of changing attitudes across the board from the very top to the bottom of society, and thus improve the lives of us all, especially children. A national trust in the true sense.”

Supporters include Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Baroness Shackleton, Baroness Deech, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Lord Justice Toulson.