I don't want to refuse to pay all of my taxes. I do believe that some of our tax money is essential and goes toward important social programs. Part of me would really like to withhold some portion of my federal taxes until the Defense of Marriage Law is repealed and gays and lesbians have the same equal rights as every other citizen in this country. But I'm not really sure how to go about it. I called around this morning to a few different national gay and lesbian organizations and although they agreed that American tax law was not equal for gay and lesbian couples, they didn't know of any organized efforts to refuse to pay. And, of course, I'm a little nervous about the consequences. Could they send me to jail?
At least in my state of Oregon, we have domestic partnerships now. But even that is a mixed blessing. Sure, we get all the state rights as married couples, but once we leave our state's borders, we're no longer legally a couple. And we created a head ache for our tax preparer, because she had to file single federal returns and married state returns. The same is true even of married couples in Massachusetts and Connecticut. They must file individual federal income tax forms. Crazy, isn't it?
For years war resisters have refused to pay a portion or all of their federal taxes as a way to protest and not participate in war. Will gays and lesbians follow suit? Earlier this year Melissa Etheridge vowed not to pay her California state taxes after the passage of Prop 8. Will she make a statement or participate in protests on tax day? As of this writing, her public relations people have not returned my phone call.
If you're pissed like me and don't know what to do, don't despair. Even though I didn't find any organized tax resistance activities, I did find out that protests are taking place all over the country at post offices. Check out Taxday2009.com for more information about the unfair US tax law, to download flyers and information packets and to participate in an activity for equal taxes and equal rights.
© Vangelis Thomaidis