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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Congress May End Annual Fines for Gay and Lesbian Families

There is a short little article on that reminds me it's about time to send my tax crap to my accountant and begin composing my annual letter of protest to the IRS. The federal government withholds hundreds of special rights from nonheterosexual United States citizens and even fines many of us for having the audacity to live as our hearts and consciences guide us. Many of these fines are assessed annually through the federal tax code by considering a spouse or partner’s health insurance as taxable income unless the partner receiving the health insurance is of the opposite sex and the couple has obtained a marriage license from a qualified government official or a government-sanctioned, superstition-based official [clergy member]. And since the federal government specifically refuses to acknowledge the existence of any nonheterosexual marriages, even ones performed in states and provinces where they are perfectly legal, I’ll personally be fined over $1000 this year, as will thousands of other Americans who are only trying to provide health insurance for their families. It’s not like people who register as domestic partners in Philly get free yachts [or even the right to visit one’s partner in a hospital without a separately obtained and paid for medical decision-making legal directive].

What to do, what to do? This year, like the last two years in which I have had to pay this fine, I will make sure to send my tax crap to a good accountant whom I trust to ensure that my fine is not one penny larger than it has to be. I will also write a letter of protest and staple it to my tax return, which I will intentionally send in a few days or weeks after the April 15 “deadline” just to make a point. I once went a few years without filing, but I was young and rebellious then. I think because I work for a nonprofit with a conscientious payroll department, have a mortgage, and have no other sources of income besides my salary, I always end up getting a refund [which would double if I didn’t have to pay the stupid fine]. This might be why I never get any kind of response to my late returns and protest letters. But it can’t hurt to let the bureaucrat who has to open and process my tax return [why the staples are used in direct defiance of the instructions] know that he or she is aiding and abetting the persecution of thousands of law-abiding Americans merely because they do not conform to the lifestyle preferences of some ungracefully aging, superstition-based bigots.

This year, in addition to finding as many creative ways as possible to cost the federal government more than it fines me [that do not result in my arrest and/or incarceration], I will write to my senators and congressman and encourage them to vote for this legislation. I also urge you to do the same. It’s still a long way to actual equal treatment under the law, which is perversely and ironically already guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment to the US Constitution, but at least this is a [baby]step in the right direction.

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