Sunday, 27 December 2009

We are family (3)

Have now just read this piece in the Times saying Labour is doing a u-turn on marriage and the family, though reading the piece I'm not sure that's quite what we're saying (we;ve reiterated our opposition to tax breaks for married couples, for a start).

I don't have any problem at all with an emphasis on strong and stable relationships, that's just common sense, it's obviously a good thing for kids. But it shouldn't be fixated on the institution of marriage as the only 'good' relationship, nor even on the parents staying together. It's about the relationship the parents have not just with each other, but with their children. A father, for example, can have a strong, stable relationship with a child without living with that child, and we need to find ways to promote the continuation of such relationships rather than assuming that if parents separate at an early stage in a child's life, the chances are the father's role will be minimal. The recognition that it's time to talk about 'mother, father and baby', as it says in the Times piece, rather than 'mother and baby' is long overdue. We should stop talking about 'teenage mothers' too and talk about teen parents. It takes two!

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