The idea was widely dismissed as a liberal pipe dream--even civil unions, gay marriage lite
, seemed a stretch--but now the movement seems unstoppable.
"[The] danger of civil partnership, if it is there alongside marriage, is that it will be seen as 'marriage lite
', as it were, where you have a lower standard of fidelity, or whatever it may be, and that seems for me to be a real danger."
If enough couples of every sexual orientation chose domestic partnerships, the social stigma of "marriage lite
" would fade away on its own.
Both of the latter two countries seem to be contemplating the introduction of a form of "marriage lite" for currently unmarried intimate cohabitants.
The ALI is clearly focusing on the creation of a form of "marriage lite" for heterosexuals, a return to court-governed common-law marriage, but without extension to same-sex couples and subject to opting out via cohabitation agreements.
My analysis so far suggests that creating a new form of obligated intimate cohabitation in addition to traditional marriage brings forth a new legal form--"marriage lite"--that appears to be useful, especially if modern marriages are more egalitarian than traditional marriages were and therefore the more vulnerable spouse needs less protection.
Adding a new form of obligated cohabitation, the "marriage lite" featured in much recent debate, may provide an alternative that helps spouses to feel confident about making long-term investments of time and effort in their relationships.
In no way should these efforts be misconstrued as a compromise--the creation of legally inferior "marriage lite
." Activists have long argued that full civil marriage must be granted to gay and lesbian couples to prevent the development of a separate and inevitably unequal parallel track in the law.