A judge has criticised the practice of referring to a wife as a ‘partner’, saying that it downgrades marriage.
Judge George Bathurst-Norman voiced his frustration during a court hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.
When a probation officer’s report referred to the accused’s wife as his ‘partner’ the judge asked: “Why is it the modern idiom believes in downgrading marriage in referring to wives and husbands as partners?
“It’s not only insulting, it’s inaccurate. Why cannot wives be called wives?”
He told the probation service representative at the hearing to pass on his comments to the report’s author.
The judge’s firm stand was applauded by pro-family campaigners.
Politically correct use of the word ‘partner’ rather than ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ has increased in recent years.
Some organisations and officials have developed the habit of using it as a catch-all term covering wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend.
Dr Adrian Rogers of Family Focus said Judge Bathurst-Norman was “absolutely right”.
He added: “When a wife or husband is referred to as partner it is a blow for all those who believe in marriage.
“Marriage is an important institution that ought to be recognised in all public documents.
“Being a wife or a husband is a very different thing from being a boyfriend or girlfriend. It involves taking a solemn vow.”
Current marriage rates are the lowest since records began, according to official figures.
Yet research shows that married couples are more likely to stay together and to bring up happy, healthy children, than any other kind of arrangement.
Cohabiting relationships are far more likely to break down than marriages, with disastrous consequences for any children involved. Yet worryingly, 44 per cent of babies are now born to unmarried parents.
At the Conservative Party conference last month, Shadow Minister for the Family, Maria Miller, acknowledged it was “empirically proven that marriage provides a stable framework for our lives”.
“With the evidence right in front of us, it’s madness not to support marriage”, she added.