I don’t know if this answers your question, but as far as I’m concerned, if every adult and child was entitled to equal financial protection, assistance and medical care from birth to death under the laws of my country, I doubt I would get legally married. To me, legal marriage is almost more of a way of protecting yourself and your loved one from the current law of the land (my land, that is), which does not necessarily equally entitle anyone (especially women) to those protections as independent individuals. The current law does not inform my opinion about what is “right”—I think in an ideal scenario the law should be influenced by what is “right”, but that gets tricky when no one can agree on what “right” is. So we vote, we protest, we write letters, and slowly, gradually, the laws start to reflect what we believe is right. But I can’t ignore the fact that for the majority of history, more than two thirds of the population was denied the right to participate in shaping the laws of my country, so I have to acknowledge that the law does not invariably reflect the interest of the people. Law is not morality in itself, it exists to defend what the majority have decided is moral at a particular given time.
Reading over the thread you mention, I feel a few somewhat contradictory things in response. First of all, a certain amount of disgust at the mention of asking for money for money “in exchange” for a a certain level of emotional investment—I can’t help that, it’s involuntary, discussion of money was kind of taboo in my family growing up, and I think it’s a subject that embarrasses the hell out of a lot of people, whether or not they want to admit it. Then my adult socialist conscience tells me that the OP is justified on a certain level, that those who have excess cash should give it to those who need it, and that there should be nothing shameful about that. Then I start to dissect the OP’s actual need, and the somewhat hypocritical point she made of not asking for the money she was rightfully entitled to by law in her divorce because “I’m not entitled to anything from anyone”, but asking for it now and claiming that it’s not about entitlement, it’s about her partner “helping” her out out of kindness (in my opinion divorce settlements are just a slightly more organized and legally bulletproof method of doing just that—another reason why I’m pro-pre-nup: A fair settlement should ideally be agreed upon out of love, not out of a need for “revenge” or as “war reparations”). Then I eventually came to the conclusion that, regardless of my petty judgements about this woman’s character or whether the idea of her asking for this money makes me uncomfortable, what I actually believe is right in this instance is irrelevant, because if it were up to me, no independent person would have to ask for this kind of “help” from another private individual, because they would be adequately taken care of by the state and therefore have no reason to ask. However, this is not the world we currently live in.
So, in short, no, a person’s lack of legal marital status has nothing to do with what I feel they are entitled to. But there’s no denying that the law can currently be used as a tool to gain certain entitlements and privileges, which, thankfully, is now capable of being taken advantage of by a large and diverse group of people (although not large enough to suit me—poly marriage next, please!), and I think it’s a good idea to do that if you love someone enough to spend your life with them.
Sorry for the novel….