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Challenges of Conventional Definition of UK Family - Essay Example

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The typical British family has changed dramatically during the 20th century. The past has shown us that marriages were given a more stable and serious quality than that of today. When a couple married in the past they normally stayed married. When children were born the unit became a stable family…
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Challenges of Conventional Definition of UK Family
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Download file to see previous pages Values have changed along with views on marriage. Young couples now, usually those in their twenties and thirties, cohabitate or live together without getting married. Forty percent of these will never marry; however, the other sixty- percent will eventually get married. (Barrow 2011, p. 1). Values have taken a dramatic turn in the opposite direction. It was common in the past to marry before having children, but now it’s very common for 40% of children in Britain to be born to unmarried parents. However, this does not limit itself to the young people in their twenties and thirties, it has also spread between ages 16 and 59. “In 2000, around a quarter of unmarried people between the ages of 16 and 59 were cohabiting in Great Britain.” (Barrow 2011, p. 1). It has become socially acceptable in the new British culture. Before 1960 this attitude would have been very uncommon and socially unacceptable.
Civil and Political Rights 1966
“The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which the UK is a signatory, requires that protection be given to “the family.” (Ghandhi, MacNamee 1991). However, within the United Kingdom no legal definition of “family” exists. Ghandhi and MacNamee argue that the law is not based on a stable or consistent notion of what a family should be. They contend that the “family” is made up of different domestic units and are treated as familial for differing purposes. They also argue that the law is based on a narrow notion of what constitutes a family and is volatile of certain individual rights under the covenant. They contend that what constitutes a family should be based on de facto relationships, rather than marital status or sexual preference. Marriage between homosexuals and transsexuals are in violation of the right to marry under the Covenant. (Ghandhi, MaNamee 1991). What has Caused this Change? Several factors contribute to the changing values and attitude toward marriage and family. Divorce has played a major role in the changing family in Britain. It is estimated that by the year 2020, there will be more single people than married people. (Barrow 2011, p.1). Twenty-three percent of births in the United Kingdom in 2001 were among cohabiting couples, thus forming the new family unit. Both men and women are generally marrying at a later age now. Women with careers don’t want to have children immediately as it may interfere with a stable career. Therefore, couples opt for waiting until their late thirties before starting a family. The average family size has also decreased greatly in Great Britain to an average 2.4 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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