From the HRC "Back Story" website: A Reminder of the True Costs of DOMA
As millions of Americans file their income taxes today, a coalition of LGBT advocacy groups are calling attention to the tax inequities facing same-sex couples as a result of the state and federal laws that refuse to recognize or extend civil marriage protections to same-sex couples. Marriage Equality USA, Join the Impact and the Human Rights Campaign have collectively organized a series of events at U. S. Post Offices across the nation to highlight the ongoing moral and financial costs of denying marriage equality to same-sex couples—as well as the consequences paid by all Americans as a result of these discriminatory state and federal laws.
“Each tax season, same-sex couples sit at their dining room tables and are forced to live a legal lie by checking ‘single’ despite their decades together and then arbitrarily dividing up their joint household’s income, expenses, and dependents,” said Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA Media Director. “Then we write checks to the IRS for social security taxes, knowing that when we die our families will not even have access to any of the family ‘safety net’ benefits provided in the form of social security survivor benefits, estate tax deferral, and other programs that we help fund through our tax dollars and that only heterosexual couples and their children will enjoy.”
“The tax inequities faced by loving, committed same-sex couples make them less able to care for each other and their families,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Even same-sex couples in states that do legally recognize their unions are penalized by the federal government simply for building a family with the person they love. This is an injustice that can and must end.”
“Whether couples are married, civil unioned or have no state protections under state law, all same-sex couples in the United States are treated as ‘single’ under federal law. The U.S. Census has declared that they will not recognize married same-sex couples as “married” in the 2010 Census. We cannot allow our community to be erased,” said Amy Balliett, co-founder of Join the Impact. “Tax season is yet another time where same-sex couples are reminded that despite abiding by the requirements of American citizenship by paying our taxes, we are still are treated as second class citizens.”
A study produced by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) debunks the myth that granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry would cost the government money. In fact, it would save taxpayer dollars. Same-sex couples aren’t the only ones paying for marriage discrimination, all taxpayers fund this discrimination which amounts to as much as $1 billion nationwide. Click here to read the CBO study.
This is not the place to lay out a case for a wholesale simplification and reform of the tax system, but suffice to say that perhaps we should look at a simple solution that avoids all these issues: abolish all joint tax returns. Each person files their own and pays taxes based on their own income only. While I question the idea of allowing people with children to pay lower taxes (I fail to see why my wife and I, who are childfree by choice, should subsidize the choices of others to reproduce when there are thousands of children waiting for adoption), we could allow each parent to take 50%of whatever deduction might be allowed for children.
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