Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and a senior Church of England bishop have joined forces to call for the tax system to be used to support marriage.
During a debate on the role of marriage in British society on 10 February 2011, crossbench peer Lord Sacks said only "political correctness" prevented people recognising that marriage was crucial for strong families and "in the best interest of the child".
The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Peter Forster, who tabled the debate, called on the government to introduce tax breaks for married couples "without delay".
He said: "Apart from the UK only 18% of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) citizens live in states which do not recognise marriage in their tax systems - and most of those 18% live in either Mexico or Turkey."
Focusing on the benefit of marriage for children, Lord Sacks, who has been Chief Rabbi since 1991, said: "If the Jewish experience has anything to say to Britain today, it is to recognise marriage, not just cohabitation, as in the best interests of the child. Do so in the tax system, do so in the educational system, do so in relationship support."
He went on: "Without stable marriages we will not have strong families and without strong families we will not have a big society."