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Friends are saying 'I do' – but might not understand the legal risks of their platonic marriages

25 Comments
By Nausica Palazzo

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Reading the article it feels like the whole thing is in urgent need of a reform, something that can still prevent fraud but still recognize a compromise between two adults to live together for a variety of valid purposes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why shouldn't friends be allowed to marry if they're making a life-long commitment to commit their resources to the same goal?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I'm sure most people living in the US would marry their cat, if it meant getting access to proper healthcare.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

When the definition of marriage changed from "a man and woman", we were told that the idea of people marrying friends, or their cat, or their fridge, or whatever, was nonsense. Seems not.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

No offense intended, but I get the feeling that this article is click-bait. That said, two people can marry in many countries these days. If they decide to live in a marriage of convenience, that is another issue. It is not necessarily illegal, but, as the author states, they should realize the legal consequences of their actions. In some cases, the results could be beneficial to both partners, but the possibility exists for one partner to intentionally, and unfairly, exploit the other.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

When the definition of marriage changed from "a man and woman", we were told that the idea of people marrying friends, or their cat, or their fridge, or whatever, was nonsense.

Should each of these not be evaluated upon their own merits? Why are people so scared of discussing marriage of various parties based on the merits of those parties being able to marry?

Americans love the slippery slope logical fallacy as an excuse to not debate issues.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If you’re desperate enough to marry someone or, at least be committed, gay or straight, what’s the point if it’s only platonic? Half the fun of being married is being with, ideally, your best friend for life and the other half of the fun is the non platonic stuff hehe. But most of my married Japanese friends are basically in sexless marriages anyway so who am I to judge?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

When the definition of marriage changed from "a man and woman", we were told that the idea of people marrying friends, or their cat, or their fridge, or whatever, was nonsense. Seems not.

What an idiotic comment. There is nothing to legally stop two friends from marrying each other. But what sane person has mentioned about marriage with cats and fridges? This is typical of homophobic people with weak arguments.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

For people worried about the sanctity of marriage, I'm afraid that boat sailed a very long time ago. People have always married for status, gold digging, visas.... If its Henry VIII, you can strategic alliances and heir production.

I suspect a major concern here is that these newlyweds will qualify for welfare or other state support. It is well understood, but not widely publicized, that welfare fraud is a tiny problem compared to tax evasion. People are focusing on the wrong thing. We should go after Google and Amazon, not two people possibly getting 10,000 yen a month off their tax bill.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why does this article appear on a Japanese news site? The situation in this country is completely different. According to a survey carried out by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, more than fifty percent of Japanese married couples said they had no sex at all.

https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-data/h00569/more-than-friends-but-not-quite-lovers-japanese-marriage-trends.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Tokyo-m

we were told that the idea of people marrying friends [...] was nonsense

I think you misunderstood nonsense with non problem as it was already the case, same as fake marriage for visa&co.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Will you marry me?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I thought marriage required the act of sex for the consummation of a marriage, under a whole host of laws?

A marriage of convenience is not a marriage under the law.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I thought marriage required the act of sex for the consummation of a marriage, under a whole host of laws?

I don't know about you, but I never had anyone from the government come and confirm me having sex with my wife. Nor would many sexless marriages be legal if sex was required.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Therefore, courts look at whether there is what they call a “specific illicit purpose.” As a judge wrote in his ruling in a case about a couple that fraudulently got married to gain a housing allowance:

In Japan I understand it is not uncommon for an older gay man to adopt his younger male partner as his son so that the partner can be treated as a family member under the law and inherit property. It is not the in your face way that the West prefers, but it seems to achieve the desired results for some couples. I have never heard of women doing this but who knows.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I thought marriage required the act of sex for the consummation of a marriage, under a whole host of laws?

what

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Strangerland

I thought marriage required the act of sex for the consummation of a marriage, under a whole host of laws?

I don't know about you, but I never had anyone from the government come and confirm me having sex with my wife. Nor would many sexless marriages be legal if sex was required.

You might be surprised to know it does happen in the UK when one of the partners is non-British or foreigners and the authorities suspect it's a fake marriage. They are required to be interviewed separately and answer the most personal questions.

Catholics who marry and couldn't divorce could ask the Pope to annul the marriage if it wasn't consummated.

Not consummating a marriage are grounds for divorce.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In UK the marriage certificate states the marriage has to be consummated within a certain amount of time. There should be many alternatives to 'marriage ' so people can 'marry who/what they want and live how they want. What would be wrong with that

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I don't really see the issue here. If two people want to get married, let them. If people are worried about marriages becoming a business relationship, just make a law requiring all couples to absorb an equal split of assets and liabilities.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Zichi and Lamilly, that's interesting, I didn't know such a law exists. And since we are at it, how is the "consummated" part being defined?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The plaintiffs in the Obergefell case – a gay couple – were, in every way aside from their same gender, congruent with what most Americans understand a married couple to be.

No, they weren’t.

Aside from that, marriage is an objective standard so what “most”Americans think is irrelevant.

They marshaled evidence showing that a gay or lesbian couple had the same ability to love, be intimate and raise children.

No, they didn’t. If there were such evidence, then the nine Supreme Court lawyers would have had a 9-0 decision rather than a 5-4.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Aside from that, marriage is an objective standard

No, it's not. We all have different ideas of marriage, and mine is just as valid as yours.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you’re desperate enough to marry someone or, at least be committed, gay or straight, what’s the point if it’s only platonic?

Committing your resources with another person towards your mutual benefit.

Which to me is more important than the sexual side of my marriage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

-In UK the marriage certificate states the marriage has to be consummated within a certain amount of time.

I'm pretty sure nobody from the government pops round to check the sheets.

Sham marriages are commonly investigated in the UK as part of immigration fraud. I doubt any UK govt. agency would bother investigating couples to ascertain the extent of their relationship for any other reason.

For one thing, there is a strong movement to equalise rights for common law partners who are not married, so an actual marriage certificate is much less likely to be key to accessing benefits.

For another, it makes little practical difference. If two people cohabitate long term there is no reason why they shouldn't be treated as a unit, whether they are lovers, a married couple or friends. Government agencies in the UK are too busy and far too short-staffed to bother with such issues.

Second and third marriages and multiple common law relationships are now so common in the UK, that local authorities just change the names on paperwork.

I guess the US is a bit more hung up on the religious baggage of marriage. Many other countries have moved on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Won't be long til I can have a second wife and a first husband.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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