Tax Day Blues Inspires Demand For Marriage Equality


cross-posted to jack and jill politics

The following is a letter I got from fellow artist Karin Webb. She's part of the arts scene in Boston where we met years ago.

Here it is. (I bolded a few parts).
Hi all,
I wanted to share some thoughts I've been having. This is not a show announcement or anything having to do with my art... though it just may work it's way into performance sometime very soon...

I got a message from the ERA this morning and was asked to fill out a letter to my Congressperson. I usually ignore these, but I've been boiling for months about my taxes this year... (for those who don't know) I am married in MA to a woman named Jill Gibson. She is also a partner of mine in my theater troupe. We share expenses, art, a home, inspiration, dreams, arms, love, and I can't imagine being on this journey with anyone else- nor can I imagine being on any journey in my life other than the one I am on. Because the gender of my wife is similar to the gender of myself (the sex the same), I have to figure out my/our taxes three separate times this year (3xSuck = smoke blowing out my ears and the fiery pits of hell lapping at my toes).

The federal government doesn't recognize my situation as "really married" (though having lived in both married and unmarried households in my lifetime, I truly can't understand the reason why)... I wanted to share the thoughts I shared this morning with my Congresspeople with you. It seems to me that if we live in a country that won't condone segregation or unequal treatment based on sex, that my marriage should fall under that protection... and really I am sick of the shit... Until our country stands behind all of it's citizens and affords the same rights and privileges to all, we are living a lie. It is so easy to dismiss inequality when it doesn't hit home, or when it has happened to you all your life. I am a woman who has had partners both male and female, and I have got to say: the message comes in loud and strong to someone who can pass and live a privileged life in the shadows, but I hope for more in my experience. I hope for more in the life of my baby niece. I hope for more in the lives of all the people I love.

Below are the words I added to the ready-made letter. This is a link you can use if you are interested in sending your own letter (not pressure, just a consideration for those who want to)

"Here I, Karin Webb, will veer off of the predetermined message for a moment: I believe it is unfair that not only must I do three times the work a straight married couple does simply because of the gender of my wife, but in doing the work of preparing my federal taxes, my wife's federal taxes, and then re-figuring out those same taxes again for state filing, I am constantly being reminded that I am a lesser citizen based solely on the gender of the person I fell in love with and chose to make a life and family with.
I, Karin Webb, am being Federally denied actual currency- earned wages- for choosing to marry the person I feel most connected to. In a country that continually voices its support of family values- the values that keep families together and our national community strong, I believe I, and many other working Americans have been betrayed by the United States of America. Please hear my voice, and recognize that I speak through my love and passion for equality and freedom- the very rights this country was created in the name of. Thank you for listening."

Luck and Love to you all,
-Karin



Last June, a coalition of organizations and social justice groups (National Black Justice Coalition, Hispanic National Bar Association, Asian American Justice Center and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) honored the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision which ended all race-based legal restrictions on marriage.

I blogged about it then and wrote:
I am so excited to see the breadth of the coalition behind this event and the movement generally. I'm tired of black folks especially feeling that the civil rights movement stopped with us. It seems to me that too often we display an attitude of "game's locked" with regard to Latino and immigrant groups and gay/lesbian rights.

Just look at the absurdity behind the language of the miscegenation laws, and it becomes increasingly difficult to justify such discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

Karin's letter reminds me that there is much left to do in our continuing mission to perfect this union. Please visit FreedomToMarry.org or consider writing a letter via the Human Rights Campaign.