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09 January 2012

Press release

New Marriage Foundation launched on Divorce Day

New Marriage Foundation launched on Divorce Day

Peter Lynas, the director of Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland, has welcomed the news that Sir Paul Coleridge, a senior Family Court Judge, is launching a campaign to promote marriage and reverse the appalling and costly impact of family breakdown. The news comes on the first working day after the Christmas and new-year break, which is known in legal circles as Divorce Day.

Sir Paul Coleridge, who has spent over 40 years working in the family justice system is concerned at the 3.8 million children caught up in the family justice system and wants to unashamedly advocate for marriage as the gold standard for couples where children are involved.

Peter Lynas, the director of Evangelical Alliance and a former barrister and researcher in family policy, welcomed the setting up of the new Marriage Foundation. Failed relationships cost £42 billion or £1,350 for each UK taxpayer every year. There is no easy or short-term solution to relationships breakdown, but this £42 billion spending burden is unsustainable in the current economic climate, and can be reduced by supporting and encouraging relationships. When relationships work they bring innumerable benefits to a wide range of people. When they fail, we all pay.

"The unpopular truth is that choices have costs and consequences, and that these are not always borne by the choice maker. Breakdown reduces health, wealth and wellbeing - the three things people are most interested in. And reducing these puts more pressure on relationships making the cycle of breakdown more likely to continue. The scale of the costs borne by taxpayers undermines the claim by some, that personal relationships are not the States business.

Studies consistently indicate that children raised by two happily and continuously married parents have the best chance of developing into competent and successful adults.4 Only 48 per cent of cohabiting couples are still together by their child's fifth birthday compared to 92 per cent of married couples.5

It is time for an open debate on the benefits of marriage. The church is a leading advocate of marriage and is a key a provider of relationships education. It is encouraging to hear a leading family judge speak so openly in support of marriage, recognising its importance to couples, their children and to society in general.

Media Enquiries

Peter Lynas, Director of Northern Ireland

Danny Webster
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: d.webster@eauk.org

Notes to Editors

The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.