Quarter of young people favour ‘phone-style’ marriage contracts

Almost one quarter of 18-24-year-olds in the UK support the idea of temporary marriage contracts, according to a new survey.

The ComRes poll for Coalition for Marriage asked 2,000 UK residents about their views on marriage, co-habiting and civil partnerships.

It revealed a significant split between older and younger generations.

‘Deeply worrying’

The poll found that 55 per cent of parents would be pleased if their child married someone of the opposite sex.

However, among 18-24-year-olds, 24 per cent supported the notion of fixed-term marriage contracts.

A funky new modern contract honouring a less binding agreement can be called something, but it can’t be called a marriage

Robert Crampton, The Times

Colin Hart, Chairman of Coalition for Marriage, said the poll “shows that a quarter of youngsters believe getting married should be similar to buying a mobile phone – a time-limited agreement that at the end both parties can choose whether to downgrade, upgrade or continue on a regularly renewable basis”.

Polygamy and incest

The poll also revealed that 32 per cent of young people supported polygamy and 30 per cent ‘fluid arrangements’.

Bringing incest into the legal definition of marriage was backed by 13 per cent.

Mr Hart described the findings as “deeply worrying”, saying the poll “demonstrates a shift in attitude away from supporting traditional marriage and the concept of life long commitment towards your wife or husband.”

Relationships robbed

Emily Reynolds, writing in The Guardian, blamed the rise of dating apps like Tinder while “countless articles urge people to treat their relationship like a business”.

“Some of the advice makes sense, but the language is pernicious, robbing relationships of their uniqueness, flexibility and joy”.

Times columnist Robert Crampton agreed, saying: “I have to object to the significant minority of young know-nothings who compare my beloved wife of 20 years to a telecommunications device”.

“A funky new modern contract honouring a less binding agreement can be called something, but it can’t be called a marriage”.

‘Marriage for life’

Polyamorous comedian Kate Smurthwaite endorsed the idea of short-term agreements on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. She claimed such contracts would give couples an easy way out of bad relationships.

“You could have this two-year rolling contract” which she claimed would be romantic.

Twitter users responded with dismay, with one man saying “If you don’t think it’s going to last don’t get married! A marriage is for life!”

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