Tax shouldn't be anything to do with relationships
To say I am wound up by Andy Burnham's suggestion that "the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage" is an understatement.
As someone who isn't married, but is in a stable relationship that has lasted considerably longer than some of my friends' marriages, I wish politicians of all parties would butt out of trying to tell people what model of family or relationship is best for them and particularly of trying to social engineer people into marriage through tax bribes. What is it supposed to mean? That married people are "better" or "more worthy" and must therefore be rewarded?
A few bugbears:
a) the rate of divorce in this country suggests too many people marry in haste. If we encourage more marriages without creating support and advice for couples and getting them to stop and think about whether they are doing the right thing, we'll just get more divorces.
b) how dare any politician tell any of us what sort of relationship would be best for us? How are they supposed to know?
c) surely some tawdry tax break devalues the whole institution and makes it look like a financial deal not a declaration of love?
d) do we really want to make people less well off because they get divorced? Won't they have enough problems to deal with anyway?
My partner says she would seriously consider whether she would stay in the Labour Party if it goes down this path.
Maybe one day we might get married. If we do though it won't be because the Treasury tries to bribe us to do it.
While we're on the subject, when are we going to follow our fantastic, progressive step in creating Civil Partnerships for gay and lesbian couples with a similar civil partnership institution that mixed-gender couples can sign up to if they want legal recognition as a couple but don't want the cultural/historical/social trappings of getting married?
P.S. before anyone starts having a go, I think marriage is a great institution, I respect people who want to get married, I enjoy weddings immensely - I just want other people and the state to recognise that one size doesn't fit all and you don't have to be married to have a happy family life.
The state - and politicians - should stay well away from telling people how to conduct their personal lives.