[Image Description: two wedding rings tied together on top of some US currency]
Marriage tax cuts ought to be abolished. Their existence is evidence that the state prefers humans to be in monogamous, legally-constituted unions over all other ways of living one’s life, and this is an outdated view that we must challenge. Marriage tax cuts discriminate against people who cannot be in a monogamous relationship for whatever reason, and if we want equality, they must go out the window.
Polygamous relationships exist, and can be perfectly healthy. If all partners in such a relationship are consenting to a polygamous relationship, then there is nothing which says this is any less or more valid, or that these partners are any less or more in love with each other, than those in a monogamous relationship. Since polygamous marriage is illegal, the existence of marriage tax cuts necessarily discriminates against people in such relationships who cannot marry.
Asexual and/or aromantic people also exist. While we can be in relationships, monogamous or otherwise, we often choose not to be. People who do not feel attraction, who do not want to be in a relationship and are perfectly happy to remain single throughout their lives cannot benefit from marriage tax cuts. Yet another group these exclude.
Marriage tax cuts are state endorsement of one very particular lifestyle, and they penalise people who do not conform to this specific lifestyle. It is a form of cultural hierarchy, whereby those who live as the government thinks they should live are rewarded while others are excluded. It is government overreach.
For those living in poverty, these probably seem like a lifeline, but what happens if the relationship starts to break down? People may fear having to pay more tax if they leave a relationship that is making them miserable. Coupled with the high cost of divorce, the current system in the UK encourages working class people in abusive relationships to remain with their spouse regardless. If we’re serious about tackling domestic violence, we need to change the system.
The institution of marriage is not, in itself, a bad thing. Yet the way our society places value on this institution to the exclusion of all else is a problem. There needs to be wholesale reform of the legal implications of marriage to bring relationship law into the 21st century, or people will continue to be excluded or trapped when they shouldn’t be. Therefore, we need to look at ending marriage tax cuts, and streamlining the divorce system.