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SOC214H1 (76)
Bonnie Fox (74)
Lecture 10

Lecture 10 November 29.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Bonnie Fox

SOC214- November 29, 2011 Week 10: Diverse Conjugal Relationships – Cohabiting, Same-Sex, and Reconstituted Marriage is changing, laws too (divorce) - people get married later, fewer getting married – therefore institution changing - trend where many will not marry - divorce rate has remained high, if you get married today the likelihood of separating is 38% - because the divorce rate is so high- step parents/families, blended families (acc. To Elizabeth Church) have become a kind of family  Elizabeth Church- good at describing the uniqueness of these families and they are not quite nuclear. This has been an overriding theme of the course. the steepest family type is – CO-HABITING COUPLES (2 demographers- Le Bourdais and La Pierre-Adamcyck)  Co-habiting do not consider self married but are conjugal – have many features of families - important because most common Canadians start first intimate relationship, it is more common to common law instead of marriage in first relationship  Same-sex relationships- new family pattern (Gillian Dunne) – interviewed 60 lesbian women - Survey- we hope we will live in an intimate relationship- how most think of lives – but fewer are marrying - Marriage declined – cohabiting increase A. Common-law, or cohabiting, relationships 1. The most common first union: 53% of people born in the 1970s cohabited as their first relationship (by age 29), [C. Le Bourdais and E. LaPierre-Adamcyck]- talked about the increase – look at those born in 1930s who would be in 80s now- 2% started lives cohabiting – skip up to present – 1960s born cohort in Canada: they are now in 50s, 42% of them had their first relationship cohabiting – 1970s cohort: 53% cohabited = as of the 1970s majority of Canadians are starting first relationship in common-law relationship. - By the 1990s in Canada- 1 in 2 unions formed by women were cohabiting (half) - In Quebec in contrast 4 out of 5 were common law started by women - Cohabitation is different in Quebec than it is in the rest of the country! 2. Quebec is different from the rest of Canada: nearly 30% of couples were cohabiting there, in 2001; only 12% were, in the rest of Canada.  In Quebec, an accepted way to have children: 30% of children there live with cohabiting parents (vs. 7% in Ontario) *Quebec is different. - Cohabitation in Quebec looks the same as marriage because so many people are raising children in common law relationships in Quebec - In contrast in rest of Canada cohabitation does not have full status of a relationship and childless (but Fox disagrees with this) 3. Cohabitation is more unstable than marriage, but it is less unstable in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada. - Cohabitation: more likely to break up – over time they become less stable too as more people form them this is because you have different kinds of relationships, people in a trial marriage vs. those “going steady” – seeing each other exclusively which used to be lived in parent’s home but now people just move in together and co-habitat - Look at Table 1 in Le Bourdais and E. LaPierre-Adamcyck article- they asked how likely will these relationships break up if children are involved? It says the most stable kind of relationships with children is getting married, never living together as cohabitators, having kids. Then they compare with this data. If you start your union in cohabiting relationship and get married before child born you are more likely to break up than if you never lived together as a common law couple (66% of breakdown) increase of cohabiting and then marriage would mean more likely to break up - 3 option – cohabiting, don’t get married, have a child, you are 5 times to separate if you never cohabitated and just got married and had a kid (this is for all of Canada minus Quebec) - But if you compare Quebec- ask what the likelihood is to separate if common law with child – you are 2.5 times to separate (250% increase) - This shows that where common law relationships are more common (Quebec) they are MORE stable than in the rest of Canada. – marriage is more unstable in Quebec as it gets more unusual - There is something different going on in Quebec than rest of country - This supports their argument that common law relationships are more an alternative to marriage in Quebec unlike rest of Canada where they are a different kind of relationship (acc. To Le Bourdais and E. LaPierre-Adamcyck) - Instability matters when there is children 4. Different legal arrangements upon separation - How does the law treat them? - According to law- same rights living common law while married o Right to have partner support you if you cannot support self o Unconstitutional to treat the relationships differently o What is different though are the terms of separation – different legal arrangements when you separate o When common law relationship separates there is (different from marriage) 1. no assumption that they shared property instead of 50/50 split of common property when you separate in common law you take out what you came with (no notion of common property) 2. No right to live in the family home if you bought a family home –  If you have a child together – you can ask for different division of property, ongoing support, support for child  Ex. Women usually go with kids in co-habiting – usually ask for house- must ask court though 3. If one of you dies, your things do not go to your partner- they go to a blood relative!  You can write an agreement though in cohabiting – to override (cannot ride responsibility for children though)  Given reality of some people’s lives- some get alimony – long term support – can be asked for after common law separation  When you have a ruling for long term support it is filed in Family Responsibility Office- they send a copy of that ruling to the employer of the person who supports and must deduct from wage and send it to the person who is owed…  Children more likely to suffer from common law than married couple – research also shows that men in common law relationships are less likely to see children and send support payments- these relationships have different consequences when they break up – so people think of these relationships differently than marriages!  People in Quebec choose to be common-law so there is a reason why a court has treated them differently - There are usually income and education differences between those who marry and those who are common law (more likely to be lower income and lower education) 5. Relationships are less unequal, in terms of gender - These relationships do look different in terms of nature of the relationship - These seem to be less unequal with respect to gender and the main finding is that people in common law think of self as less of a union and more two individuals - Le Bourdais and E. LaPierre-Adamcyck talk about how huge change in Quebec with Quiet Revolution – huge cultural revolution- was about culture rejecting dominance of Catholic Church – what ended with this revolution was that the notions: everyone would get married, have many children were REJECTED- which led to changes in gender notions- also women’s liberation movement was happening too which had a big effect on relationships and notions of gender - As we look at research on common law we find more egalitarian relationships- people tend to keep separate bank accounts- tend to share housework more – men do more housework- women more likely to be in labour force if common law – thus it is a different relationship in that it is not about lets form a pooled union. Therefore a different set of expectation going into these. - People may get married because it is a recognized union, law supported – more support from state and culture B. Same-sex Couples rd Summer of 2005 – Canada 3 country in the world to allow gay marriage - Now there are 10 countries that allow it 1. The fight for the right to marry; the criticism of marriage in the lesbian community. - Long history - 1960s – so much changing – gay couples began to live openly - People came out of the closet to families more in the 60s vs. in 50s people kept in the closet - People who came out had a rough time – but there was an openness about the gay community at least in large cities - 1969 Pierre Trudeau said state has no business in bedrooms and decriminalized same-sex sex as long as it occurs in private - There has been an ongoing debate in lesbian and gay community about marriage o Lesbians said in the 60s marriage was the last resort – marriage represe
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