RESOLUTION OF THE PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION OPPOSING HOUSE BILL 43, PRINTER’S NO. 31, CONCERNING THE ABOLITION OF COMMON LAW MARRIAGE IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

WHEREAS, common law marriages have always been available to people in this Commonwealth who desire to be married or consider themselves married but who, for one reason or another, are not willing or able to present themselves to the government for ratification of their union; and,

WHEREAS, the fact that people have been married at common law has benefited an untold number of widows, widowers and surviving children who have been able to inherit the estate of their spouse or collect insurance and government benefits; and,

WHEREAS, there is no evidence, nor any reason to believe, that the statutory abolition of common law marriage will either end the belief of couples that they are common law married, or result in any clearer understanding of the legal requirements of marriage, or reduce the amount of confusion relating to common law marriage, while it would certainly result in the elimination of many claims to benefits;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association expresses its opposition to House Bill 43, Printer’s No. 31, and to any effort to abolish common law marriages in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and it authorizes its Chancellor to take whatever means are appropriate to express this opposition to the Governor and to the General Assembly.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: September 28, 2000