marriage lite
n. Mildly derogatory term for an unmarried couple who live together or a couple who have formed a civil union or similar partnership.
They are right about the fact cohabitation — what some call ''marriage lite'' — is changing the social map. Census figures show the proportion of adults in de facto relationships more than doubled between 1986 and 2006. With other countries showing similar shifts, many social scientists studying this trend conclude marriage lite is not a change for the better.
—Bettina Arndt, “Shacking up is hard to do: why Gillard may be leery of the Lodge,” Sydney Morning Herald, June 29, 2010
But the other side of the coin is that is that a civil partnership is, face it, marriage lite. Terms and conditions apply, if you’re gay your results will definitely vary from the bride and groom down the road. Because civil partnerships simply do not come with all of the legal rights of marriage.
—Cahir O'Doherty, “Irish Government introduces gay marriage (lite),” Irish Central, June 26, 2009
1989 (earliest)
Spinoff: is Bruce Bellingham the first or the last to describe the domestic partners law as Marriage Lite?
—Herb Caen, “How Firma the Terra,” The San Francisco Chronicle, October 25, 1989