chapter  2
The Clash of Institutional versus Individual Values
Pages 30

This chapter argues that disagreements about how to define marriage and deal with it in policies mean it is difficult to balance different relationship values. This leads to intense battles about the public and the private role of marriage. These conflicts then impact on policy developments. The chapter explores three broad competing positions which influence policy makers and values surrounding marriage: first, the view that government should stay out of people's relationships; second, the view that governments have an obligation to support and strengthen marriage; and third, the view that governments' role in marriage and relationships needs to be redefined, recognising the importance of improving economic circumstances. It investigates the political applications of values in the marriage debates by drawing on quotations from the interviews conducted in the three countries between 2012 and 2015. Politicians who fit into the marriage movement camp raise similar points about the importance of government obligations to strengthen marriage.