As millions of Americans file their income taxes, local chapters of Marriage Equality USA will participate in annual Tax Day Actions at local post offices around the country on April 15, holding signs like “25 Years Together, Still Filing Single,” “No Taxation with Discrimination” and “Tax Us the Same, Treat Us the Same” to call attention to the tax inequities facing same-sex couples as a result of the state and federal laws that refuse to recognize or extend civil marriage protections to same-sex couples. These protests highlight the ongoing moral and financial costs of denying marriage equality to same-sex couples—as well as the consequences paid by all Americans as a result of unfair state and federal laws.
“In light of the recent Supreme Court marriage equality hearings, it has never been more timely to stand up for equality and fairness,” said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA Legal Director. “Equal taxation is a founding principle of our nation, and a key issue in one of the marriage cases being deliberated by the nine Justices as we speak.”
Youth organizer Austin Bruckner explained why he is leading the event in his home town of Castro Valley, California: “While the U.S. Supreme Court considers tax fairness for plaintiff Edie Windsor, it is important that people in my little town of Castro Valley know that LGBT couples are not treated equally on tax day. While our relationships may not be equal under the eyes of the law, they should be and soon they will be.”
Ellen Pontac, who will be leading the protest in Davis, California with her wife Shelly Bailes, explains another basic reason why tax time is even more cumbersome same-sex couples: “Same-sex Registered Domestic Partners and same-sex married couples in California are required to fill out a total of four income tax forms when different sex married couples need to fill out only two – making tax time doubly cruel for same-sex couples.”
“We are encouraged by the recent Supreme Court arguments against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But until America fulfills its promise of equal justice under the law, tax day will continue to be an annual day of reckoning for how our couples and families face unequal treatment – and are often forced to pay more than their fellow citizens to the same government that denies us equal rights,” concluded Brian Silva, Marriage Equality USA Executive Director.