A Supreme Court of Canada decision that upheld Quebec's laws which provide rights to married couples that do not apply to couples merely living together has been applauded by pro-family organizations as a recognition of the unique and distinctive role that true marriage plays in society.
In what has become known as the Eric and Lola case, pseudonyms designed to protect the couple’s three children, the court ruled that the Quebec law that excludes cohabiting couples from receiving spousal support in the event of relationship breakdown is constitutional and does not discriminate against couples who choose to live together without the benefit of marriage.
In a close 5-4 decision, Chief Justice Beverley McLaughlin wrote, "Those who choose to marry choose the protections, but also the responsibilities, associated with that status. Those who choose not to marry avoid these state-imposed responsibilities and protections."
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) says that the decision accurately reflects the social science research which shows marriage to be substantively different from living common law.