Unmarried couples should not be given the same cohabiting rights as married people, a new report has argued.
A study from the thinktank the Centre for Social Justice rejected the idea that people living together should have such legal status, since they can choose to gain this by becoming married.
Founder of the body and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said such a measure would "undermine" the institution.
He added: "We have to do more to warn people that they can only secure the legal protection of marriage by getting married."
Such views may be influential in developing the policies of a Conservative government should they win power in the next year.
Those keen to cover themselves without marrying are recommended to draw up a cohabitation agreement so they can protect themselves legally.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics for 2006 - the most recent year for which data is available - revealed that the rate of marriage was at its lowest since 1862.
Written by Christopher Evans
Published on: July 13, 2009