With Regard to Marriage, to What Extent Does the Law Reflect Moral and Ethical Standards in Society?

With regard to marriage, to what extent does the law reflect moral and ethical standards in society?

Marriage was initially based on the physical union of a man and a woman and the transfer of a woman’s property to her husband. As a result of the patriarchal society of the times marriage was much more in favour of men, and often ignored the rights of women. Today, the morals and ethics of society are better reflected in the law when dealing with marriage.
Upon marriage, any property the woman owns is no longer transferred to the man. Instead, each person retains title to any property they owned prior to the marriage and they are in no way legally obliged to combine their assets. On the other hand, if property is owned by both parties (jointly), both the husband and wife have to agree before it is sold or altered. Married couples may also be tenants-in-common which means they each own a share of the house. These shares may be split evenly or unevenly, but either way either party is entitled to leave their share to whoever they want in their will. This allows property to be owned solely by one person or as a joint ownership which better reflects the morals of women than in the past.

In some cultures, marriages are arranged between families and often results in a minor being forced to marry a much older person. Under Australian law a marriage must be a voluntary union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. Therefore, society’s morals and ethics are reflected as the majority of people do not believe in forced marriages, particularly when they involve minors as most consider childhood important. However, those from cultures where polygamous marriages are allowable or it is commonplace for arranged marriages to occur do not have their values reflected to the same extent under contemporary Australian law. Homosexual marriages are also not valid under our current laws which is the cause of much debate between those who think it is and isn’t...