Essay Marriage in the Western European Society

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Marriage in the Western European Society Without exception marriage is a human social construct. The animal kingdom does appear to have a number of species that appear to mate for life but the term marriage implies a formal commitment requiring ceremony, social obligations and rights. There are also very many cultural differences around the world in what is perceived to be “marriage”. However, without exception all cultures do have an understanding of the term, have obligations and benefits to marriage, most especially for men. We shall, for the purpose of this essay, only explore Western European society. The last fifty or so years have seen massive changes to many of the social structures…show more content…
Marriage was considered to been the norm and was often governed by unwritten rules and obligations as well as legal protection and benefits. As mentioned, marriage has also been seen to be of most benefit to men and until recently women had few or no rights with regard to their say within the marriage and of no consequence within the law. Formal institutions such as governments, the legal system and the church still favour heterosexual marriage and still place certain benefits to married couples. The legal system has moved forward and has now started to recognise equality to both couples in most areas, with the exception of parental rights. However, married couples do still have more rights and security over non-married couples. This is especially true in pension rights, inheritance and after separation. There are constant legal reviews and equality is a primary concern now as the European Convention on Human Rights has proved to conflict with a number of member States domestic laws. The churches can be slower to change and adapt to legal and social change. All of the mainstream churches and most especially the Roman Catholic and Church of England, maintain a traditional view of the sanctity of marriage and try to maintain the arguments that uphold the traditional social and moral importance of marriage. The argument is that without marriage to bind families then society
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