It is a concept so central to western society- that it has in the past determined a man's class. It is in a way- is the most basic structure keeping stability within the cultures which value it most.
A child from a broken, unstable, weakened family- is shown to be more susceptible to unwanted influences such as drugs, or crime. The child without a strong family basis does not have the same advantage that the child which lives in a stable- healthy environment experiences.
The concept of marriage- does not refer to a good for the family alone- a marriage is something which benefits society- the strong vows and many other factors- show both that Marriage creates just restrictions, and secondly that a large portion of its benefits are gained by the child and thus by society- which is maintained via stable families.
The reason that society places such value on marriage- apart from religious reasons, and from the benefits and protections given the couple- is that marriage is an important factor in creating stable families.
If this were not so- would it be just to treat married people so differently from unmarried ones- to treat couples better than lone individuals?
The strength of marriage in society filters into the strength of the basic family unit- and from there- into the depths of society as a whole.
It has been shown that recognition of lesser unions- have made those who are in a weaker position: who would want more protection via marriage- more susceptible to falling for lesser protection.
Allowing registered lesser relations, with less protection to the weaker partner- may well cause some few to be more powerful under the law- yet the many who would have chosen stronger protection- could well be tempted to enter a lesser agreement.
The lesser agreement- means a less stable partnership, and less stability and strength in a family- especially as the partners are not vowed to one another, and as the consequences of breaking the agreement are lesser for the stronger party.
It is my personal opinion that legal recognition of Domestic Partnerships in South Africa- would have a negative impact on the fabric of our society- a society where many families are already weak or broken.
I would urge our readers strongly to defend the structure of marriage against all attacks.
The impact a couple have on their own children- affects all of us. Marriage is a community event and a marriage's success or failure hurts or aids the community.
When the law focuses too much on the individual and not enough on their positive or negative impact on the fabric of society- this is dangerous.
All that is good- is that which is for life- whether our own or life in general- that which is bad- is damaging to life. Any other standards- ethically should rest or fall on one standard- are they good for life- for the single life, and that of the many?
Both are important: both individual and group- we do believe that some women who would have entered marriage or left their boyfriend under the current situation- could well be forced or pressured into receiving only a lesser protection- should these registered and unregistered domestic partnerships be accepted!
But in general- we would also like to warn our readers- that all the interferences with the family structure in South Africa have an effect on us all- there is no ethical justification of giving couples who are together such protection as that of marriage- except with their children in mind- and the family's impact considered.