Should We Incentivise Marriage?

Today is the 19th anniversary of my mother and father’s marriage. In a beach hut in St Lucia, without telling anyone, they eloped in the Caribbean. And bloody decided to come back to sunny Britain. I have done a lot of thinking over the course of the day, and I wasn’t sure whether this was a good idea to write. If I had a conventional family life, I know I would still believe this.

I completely and fundamentally disagree with the idea that Governments have any place in encouraging marriage whatsoever. I disagree that the most capable children come from two-parent families, I disagree that getting more people married will lower crime and I disagree that just because someone is lucky enough to be living with someone they love and enjoy and want to spend the rest of their life with they should be rewarded for that privilege by the government. The Conservative idea to recognise marriage in the tax system, nudging, social engineering, whatever you want to call it, it is frankly illiberal and has no place in the governance of a people by a state. Someone recently told me if I believe in 95% of a Government’s policies, that government is doing well. Well this is my 5% I disagree with.

A Government that tries to encourage marriage by penalising couples who separate by removing benefits in the tax code is an affront to freedom and liberty. My mum and dad separated nearly two years ago. Both of their lives have improved as a result, in ways I won’t go into too much detail about. A pro-marriage government would prefer to see my mum and dad live unfulfilled lives together.

There are people who choose to live together but never get married, for certain reasons. Some marriages are abusive. The positive effects of married people in society is great, but we shouldn’t force more marriages. Government has no right to meddle in marriage, it is a decision between two consenting adults.

Don’t meddle with marriage. Let people live their own lives.

Today is an anniversary of choice. I never forget the 18th March.

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