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03/29/2010

Nothing's certain but death and taxes and gay couples treated unfairly

by Jeremy Hooper

Back in early February, my husband was on the phone with the person who does our family's taxes every year. A portion of the exchange went like this:
***
TAX PREPARER: Did anything change with you this year?

ANDREW: Well, I got married.

PREPARER: Oh wow, that's huge in terms of taxes! That will make a big difference.

ANDREW: Well, uhm, but, no. Here's the thing...

PREPARER: Oh right, I forgot. You're gay. It was a same-sex wedding, right? [::sigh::] Sorry.
***
Outcome: Because of our situation and inability to file jointly, Andrew and I had to pay several thousand more dollars than we would have if DOMA went the way of the DODO. Just like countless other same-sex couples. Couples like Paul and Bob, for instance:

Paul Ruseau sits in his Medford living room with his two-year-old daughter on his lap. He worries about how he and his husband, Bob, will be able to save for their children’s college educations. Or even before that, how Ruseaus-1will they be able to afford to renovate their house, adding another room so the kids can have separate bedrooms?

For Paul and Bob these worries are compounded by the federal government’s discrimination against their marriage. Because of DOMA, they lose thousands of dollars each year in extra taxes—money that could fund college savings accounts or help fix up the house. “The bottom line is that because of DOMA we are less prepared than other married couples to navigate the financial challenges of raising a family,” says Paul. “If we were an opposite-sex couple we could give our kids so much more.”
*KEEP READING: DOMA Stories: Federal Marriage Discrimination Hurts Families [GLAD]

There are of course much more pressing burdens imposed on this nation's LGBT people than those that affect the bottom line. But fewer show the flat-out civil disparities that we face, or come across as more relatable to those in the unaware movable middle, than those that cut directly into the wallet.

Money talks. In terms of American gay couples around 4/15 each year, that speech reliably turns to slurs!

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