Thursday, April 14, 2011

This Tax Day gay couples Refuse To Lie

A new campaign called “Refuse to Lie” has been launched to assist legally married gay couples who plan to ignore the government’s requirement that they lie on their taxes by filing as “single.”
The Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) not only denies legally married gay couples the 1138 legal protections and benefits of marriage, but the IRS also uses DOMA as a justification for telling couples to disavow their spouses.
“Refuse to Lie is a grassroots campaign that aims to make visible the impossible choice gay married couples have in choosing between the truth and the law,” said Nadine Smith, one of the organizers and the executive director of Equality Florida.
“As long as we quietly comply, our friends, neighbors, families and co-workers have no idea what is being done to us in their name,” said Smith. “As long as we are silent, they won't understand how humiliating, dehumanizing and plain wrong it is to force legally married couples who are gay to lie and deny our spouses.”
The risks of taking this stand are unclear and the rules murky. DOMA has been deemed unconstitutional by two trial courts and those decisions are being appealed. Recently, President Obama and the US Department of Justice announced that they too found portions of DOMA unconstitutional and would no longer defend the discriminatory law.
Nina E. Olson is the United States Taxpayer Advocate and is tasked with helping taxpayers solve their problems with the Internal Revenue Service. She is the only IRS employee authorized to make legislative proposals directly to Congress. In her annual report to Congress, Olson identified the confusion over legal filing requirements for gay couples as a major problem.
“The IRS has not provided answers to these questions, requiring many taxpayers to file returns without knowing which rules apply and potentially subjecting them to audits and penalties, as well as costs for tax advice.”
According Olsen’s report to Congress, the populations of individuals in same-gender marriages and domestic partnerships were 63,658 and 174,760, respectively, in 2008, when only three states authorized same-gender marriages and ten recognized domestic partnerships, according to the report. Nationwide, more than a million individuals are estimated to be living as same-gender couples (whether or not registered), over 20 percent of which are raising children.
In addition to highlighting this injustice, the Refuse to Lie campaign provides resources on what other couples might face if they to “refuse to lie” on their tax returns. The campaign also provides an opportunity for individuals and gay or straight married couples to sign a petition and stand in solidarity with those who are risking their freedom to demand their equality.
Visit to sign the petition and learn more.