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I sat down this morning and wrote out a few fat checks to the federal government for my 2008 taxes. Every time I do this, it pisses me off. Why should I have to pay taxes on my income when I'm not given the same rights as married heterosexual couples?

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 Part of me would really like to withhold some portion of my federal taxes until the Defense of Marriage Law is repealed and gays and lesbians have the same equal rights as every other citizen in this country.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

Comments
April 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm
(1) Kathy says:

Our tax preparer didn’t run the “what if” numbers for us, but this couple’s did. The result of not being able to file jointly? $1800!!

Read on

April 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm
(2) Kelly H says:

Here in the south we are afforded no benefits. My partner was even told at a daycare that she couldn’t go on a field trip with one of our children because she wasn’t her mother. (Our daughter yelled at the director that she was too her mommy!) Perhaps if we all banded together on this, we could effect a difference- or greatly contribute to the jail overcrowding.

April 17, 2009 at 6:57 am
(3) Mrs T says:

Those TEA party protests were for complaints on taxes. I think the news media twisted it to make it seem like right wing freaks, but it was mainly working people who are fed up with too many taxes & too much waste. [If they had other signs there, it isn't the fault of the legit protesters.] I think this is for LGBTQs also, & you should have been there. It would be nice to see a sign that said, “Lesbians for Fair Taxes” or something more creative. You would have been welcomed. This is for all the people. Everyone has something to complain about with the tax issue! :)

April 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm
(4) John Bisceglia says:

For those interested in tax resistance for gays (legal and “civil disobedience”), check out my blog “National Equality Tax Revolt”. I started my blog initially as a way to cope with how Marriage Inequality utterly devastated my life and career, but I also track all (known) gay tax resisters and related stories.

Charles Merrill has a tax case against the federal government in May 2009; unfortunately Etheridge disappeared on this topic in the media. I also share links to David Gross’ site, which is a treasure trove of info on ALL THINGS related to tax resistance, and I do try to make the case for our DIGNITY, which seems to be lost in America in 2009.

April 17, 2009 at 4:04 pm
(5) John Bisceglia says:

In case you don’t “GOOGLE”:

National Equality Tax Revolt
http://gaytaxprotest.blogspot.com/

Until Queer Americans Are Equal, we owe $0.00 to the I.R.S. PLEASE – Read these stories of Cruel Suffering Due to Marriage Inequality:

http://gaytaxprotest.blogspot.com/2009/02/cruel-suffering-due-to-marriage.html

April 18, 2009 at 11:34 pm
(6) julia says:

Hear, hear, Mrs T and John. I attended the ATL Tea Party and wore my “Second Class Citizen” teeshirt (see Anne E DeChant’s website). I think the LGBT community needs to start viewing our issues for what they are: the abuse and/or denial of our basic civil rights/liberties.

April 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm
(7) Anyse says:

Well, in my case, I was legally married to a woman and changed my gender in the course of the marriage. The Feds would no longer recognize our “joint” tax filing (costs nearly $1200 in more taxes) while California would accept joint filing (costing more to prepare two separate returns with all of the “considerations” made in reference to the Fed taxes paid). This is a real headache and, it seems to me, that those who are not “legal” in the eyes of the Feds should, as a real tax protest, ALL file JOINTLY and let the Feds figure it out. It would cost them more money to discern the discrepancy and to “adjust” what “should” have been paid as well as the small percentage “fine” that would also have to be calculated. Make the Feds “work” for the gay, lesbian, trans dollar! That would be “protest” enough and, maybe, they would change the tax structure as a result. You never know until you actually, en mass, do something proactive about this.

April 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm
(8) Lynne says:

LGBT people in over 60 cities held “Equal Taxes, Equal Rights” actions at post offices on April 15 this year. We held signs and passed out fliers explaining the ways in which the tax code is unfair to LGBT people. The gatherings were small this year and were overshadowed in the media by the “tea bag” parties. But next year, if more people join in “Equal Taxes, Equal Rights”, we can really make a statement. I believe that Americans usually respect fair play and that most people have just never thought about the ridiculous inequality in our tax code. Especially when it comes to LGBT people paying the same Social Security tax but not receiving equal benefits. If we spread the word on these tax issues, we will help create a climate that will push the federal government to make some changes — probably starting with repealing DOMA.

April 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm
(9) Rebecca W says:

Yes, we paid about $1300 extra too and that’s not including the income tax on my DP health ins.

This why I don’t think the dems are ever going to do anything about DOMA.

May 31, 2009 at 10:27 am
(10) Undisclosed says:

My partner happens to live overseas. He’s never been allowed to come here. Ever since, I have not even bothered to file (several years now).

I’ve become tired of the excessive tax rates, lack of representation, unconstitutional government, abuse of power by those in charge and the hypocrisy of the political establishment.

If charged for my actions, I will fight to my last strength and I am prepared to go on hunger strike should I ever be imprisoned for my beliefs. If I cannot be with the one I love, nothing else matters.

One of history’s greatest achievers, Mahatma Ghandi, was also a tax protester. He also had to stand in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition.

Having said this, some will think I am crazy, but that is ok. I have simply chosen to make my stand.

“Mea mihi conscientia pluris est quam omnium sermo” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (Translated: “My conscience means more to me than all speech.”)

July 3, 2009 at 3:38 am
(11) Tracy Twyman says:

“Valuable social programs” like welfare for banks and car companies? C’mon. Take a stand against this whole corrupt oligarchy and their wealth confiscation program. It has nothing to do with what lifestyle category you fall into. Lesbians have no more or less obligation to fight the kleptocracy than anyone else. We all have to stand up before there’s nothing left to stand for.

January 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm
(12) Steve LaMay says:

I’m the Successor Trustee of my deceased partners estate; after paying all his taxes out of the estate, I’m now supposed to pay a complete other set of taxes on the money that I inherited and has already been taxed solely because we were a Gay couple; that is what the right to marry really means.

Now President Obama passed a law that says in order to get federal funding hospitals have to provide abortions, so this country is trying to say Gays shouldn’t marry to protect families…makes no sense at all.

So to people who think the tax laws are fair, think again.

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