Using information from Items B and C and elsewhere, examine the ways in which state policy may affect families and households
State policy has an influence on families and households through the laws the government create, and the messages certain policies give. Item B says that “The state has intervened significantly in families for a considerable length of time”, showing how the government considers it part of their responsibility for the families of Britain. However, the state has been accused of not doing enough to protect the traditional nuclear family. Some commentators have suggested that some liberal state policies, especially those introduced in the 1960’s (such as the 1969 divorce act and the legalisation of homosexuality in 1967), are responsible for the perceived decline in traditional family values. Those who claim that the family is in decline can be grouped under the label ‘New right’. They are usually conservative thinkers and politicians who believe strongly in tradition and dislike change. They believe that there was a ‘golden age’ of the family, in which husbands and wives were strongly committed to each other for life, and children were brought up to respect their parents, the authority, and the law. Item B says that “conservative thinkers tend to believe that there has not been enough state input into protecting the traditional family, or that state interference has actually contributed to the families decline by encouraging the development of ‘deviant’ living arrangements.” They believe that equal opportunities and the equal pay legislation distracted women from their ‘natural’ careers as mothers and wives. They say that the 1969 divorce reform act undermined the commitment to marriage and that homosexuality is ‘unnatural’ and deviant. However, some state policies have tried to uphold the traditional family. Tax and welfare policies have generally favoured and encouraged heterosexual married couples rather than cohabiting couples, single...
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