The Tory party is offering a new Tax Break for Married couples and civil partnerships in a bid to support stable relationships. The tax reform will be modest. But neither does it support marriage, it supports a certain type of marriage - one that is out of touch with modern relationships and makes for unhappy couples. If the token £150 a year actually succeeded in changing behaviour, it could increase separation and divorce.
Tory Phillip Hammond (NB not George Osborne) has just been on BBC News 24 skating around questions regarding the Tory promise to "recognise marriage in the tax system". They will soon announce what form it will take. But it is clear the Conservatives are going to encounter some significant problems between the moral appeal of the policy to their natural constituency on the one hand, and the social justice appeal by which they have sold it, on the other. They are caught between a rock and a hard place, and their love affair with the policy may soon be "on the rocks" as a result.
Marriage in the Church of England is fast becoming a joke, suggests parish priest Kevin Scully. The current confusion between its social, state and civic meanings and its religious and spiritual ones is eroding its Christian significance, he suggests. A better way is needed.
Oxford politics Professor Iain McLean wrote an open letter to the Anglican Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, about civil partnerships on religious premises, after the bishop opposed such a development. The bishop responded personally. This is McLean's further reply, following the House of Lords vote on an amendment to the Equality Bill on the issue.