Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete?
Continued from previous page
Maillard sites the famous 1976 palimony case of actor Lee Marvin as a turning point in how the law sees relationships. Marvin had a verbal contract and marriage-like partnership with girlfriend Michelle Triola Marvin. When they split up she took him to court and eventually won and though she got a much smaller settlement than she asked for (and never collected anything) it was a big victory for cohabitation.
Maillard and his opposite-sex partner would seem to be a perfect case in point for the changing view of coupling; they opted for a contract made through lawyers rather than a traditional marriage.
“We are still not married but we wanted to have some type of protection between the two of us,” he says. He and his partner made a contract through a lawyer that would be individual and personal, to show seriousness and permanence to them and their families without seeing themselves through the lens of traditional marriage.
“This was individually, to us,” he says. “I didn’t want something everybody else was doing.”
Not everyone can afford access to lawyers and have customized agreements, but the low marriage rate, the changing template of “family,” the gay marriage issue forcing people to look at whether tradition is more important than justice, the British couple who are suing after being denied a civil union on the basis of their heterosexuality, all point to the notion that in this survival-of-the-fittest world, marriage might well undergo some adaptations.
After all, the dial phone is obsolete…but the phone itself is better than anyone could ever have imagined. Who says marriage can’t end up the same way?