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03 May 2012

Launch of Marriage Foundation

Launch of Marriage Foundation

Aimed at stemming the tide of marriage breakdown, the Marriage Foundation was launched this week by Sir Paul Coleridge. Backed by legal experts, family groups and religious organisations the organisation seeks to be a national voice making the case for marriage.

Launched in Middle Temple, in the heart of London's legal district, the foundation won immediate backing from a wide range of eminent legal and faith figures. The patrons of the organisation include Baroness Butler-Sloss – president of the Family Division of the courts until her retirement in 2005. A key aim in the establishment of the foundation was to win the support of judges and lawyers who had, as Sir Paul Coleridge quipped, often profited on the back of the breakdown of family life.

Speaking in the medieval hall where around 200 gathered for the launch, Sir Paul said: "Marriage and family breakdown is one of the most destructive scourges of our time. For that reason, I have, for some years now, been trying to raise the subject whenever I have had the chance to speak publicly on the matter. I am now convinced that it is time not only to talk but to act. Waiting for government or others to take action is merely an excuse for moaning and inactivity."

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sachs, spoke in support of the foundation, commenting that the "strength of our marriages and families kept Jewish people alive for 4,000 years". Unable to make the launch due to train cancellations, the Archbishop of York sent a message of support and congratulated the Marriage Foundation for being "on the right tracks".

Recognising that the key audience for promoting a healthy view of marriage for the future was young people, the Marriage Foundation congratulated the work of organisations and particularly singled out the work of the Romance Academy. Director Rachel Gardner spoke of the vital need to teach young people that relationships were about more than sharing a phone contract. Alongside her endorsement of the foundation several young people shared their views of marriage and relationships, including a slam poetry contribution called 'dinosaur love'.

Attending the launch Dr Dave Landrum, the alliance's director of advocacy, said: "Marriage is something that as a society we should do our best to support. It's the thing that holds together families; it's a fundamental building block of society. That the Marriage Foundation will provide a public voice in support of marriage is good for marriage and it's good for our society."

The initial projects for the Marriage Foundation include becoming the destination of choice for information and access to marriage support. The foundation also seeks to make the case for marriage by providing informed comments and building a body of authoritative research. The final initial project is to develop practical programmes that can promote healthy relationships for young people.