On the news today I heard a Conservative MP said "We should be encouraging people to marry, through the tax system".
I know it is not something that any of those seeking marriage equality have placed high on their agenda. The married man's tax allowance, (yes note it was only available to the man) was discontinued in 2000, therefore over 5 years before same-sex couples were even allowed to have a legal recognised relationship status. Those of us who want marriage equality want it on the grounds of equality, but seeing as we have been denied equality for so long we don't what that equality to disadvantage others.
You see there would have been men in the past who would have lost their married man's allowance if their wife had run off with someone else, they may even have had to pay maintenance for their children. By talking about men and unfaithful women I am not being sexist, merely because there was no married women's allowance the women were already losing out, if they were the larger earner, this is merely a statement of fact. Also widows and widowers would have lost out on the marriage allowance at that vulnerable time at which they lost a loved one. So if you'd looked across the room and seen the tax break of your life, you would have lost it when death parted you.
You see above how mecahnical and clinical a married persons allowance is. There are those that claim that the marriage tax allowance is to support those who are the worse off in our society. But bear in mind that a married couple will have two incomes to pay all the bills, it it those who are single, who don't have the extra buying power to lay down a mortgage and are living in rental accommodation who are actually those most in need of a tax break when times are tough economically. So what are the Government doing about that?
Well actually they will be increasing the personal individual's tax allowance to £9205, this is up from the £6,475 that it was at the time of the General Election. That gives a married couple (or in fact any couple) a tax break of almost £5,500 in the last three years. Almost giving them a whole other person's personal allowance over what was available to them on 6 May 2010.
So the arguments about encouraging people to stay get together in marriage to help the worse off is a fallacy, everyone is better off, £2,730 of their income has been lifted out of income tax. The result is that they are paying £600 a year less in tax (£1,200 for any couple where both earn over the threshold and less that the higher band).
People are not to be encouraged to stay married because they have a tax break, there was divorce in this country before 2000. People are not going to be encouraged to get married simply to have a little extra money in their pocket. People get married for one reason only, love. That is also the reason that we need marriage equality to recognise that love that a couple have for each other, a love that is the same whatever the make up of that couple.
Tax breaks neither make nor break marriages. Love is love and equality is needed for that love. When you call something by a different name it is not recognising it as the same thing.