Leo Schuman currently serves as Vice Chair of the DPO GLBT Caucus/Oregon's Stonewall Democrats. Software saved him from the law.
While we are domestic partners under Oregon law, and so can legally file a joint Oregon tax return, it is illegal for us to file joint Federal taxes. So, we must pay extra tax consultant fees to have an artificial, “as if”, joint Federal return prepared, from which our joint Oregon taxes are calculated. Then we must throw it away and file our Federal taxes “as if” we were single. As a result, we know exactly how much tax we would have paid were we allowed to file a joint Federal tax return, and therefore exactly how much more we were forced to pay for being gay, despite our longer than heterosexual average relationship. And, all of this due to the so-called “Defense” of Marriage Act (DOMA).
$4,799.00 we’d still have in the bank if we were straight has been taken away, because some Americans are worried their marriages must be “defended” against people like us. Which makes me laugh. As a recovering divorce lawyer, I know first hand just how short and sordid many so-called “traditional” marriages can be ( Jason Alexander and Britney Spears: 55 hours ).
$4,799.00 is a lot of money. While my partner and I are fortunate to have work, I don’t think many people avoid the worries and what-if’s these days. That money would have kept us going a few tight months if we lost our jobs. Or it could have employed a contractor for some home repairs we need. Or it could have helped one of our nieces with their education. Or it could have even helped the Oregon economy ( we like to spend our dollars locally ) if we manage to take a vacation this Summer.
Unfortunately, because we’re a same-sex couple, we’re forced to pay higher taxes and effectively subsidize the special Federal tax rights given to straight married people who file jointly.
So as everyone contemplates abstract questions of basic fairness and fundamental justice, don’t forget that the bigoted ideal of special rights for “traditional” marriage has a stiff tax whack and reverberating economic impact.
Second class citizenship is expensive.