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Andrew Lilico: Would the married couples allowance now be illegal?

By Andrew Lilico

Yesterday's news was led for a while by the case of Peter and Hazelmary Bull, of the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance, who were found to have acted unlawfully in refusing to issue a double room to Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy.  Others have debated the rights and wrongs of the judgement, but I don't want to get into that on this occasion.  The issue I want to raise is different.

As I understand the case, it is not in dispute that the Bulls' policy, which had been in place since they opened the hotel in 1986, was not to grant a double room to any couple - heterosexual or homosexual - that was not married.  It is thus not in dispute that they did not discriminate against homosexuals.  Rather, they discriminated against the unmarried.

I don't know precisely when it became illegal to discriminate against the unmarried, but it seems to me to raise the following question: would it now be illegal to have a tax break available only to married couples?  Would that be a form of discrimination (for it surely is discrimination) that is now illegal?  Would, for example, re-introducing the old married couples allowance now be illegal?


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