Editors' Note: Guest blogger Charles Merrill, the cousin of the founder of Merrill Lynch, was previously married to the late Evangeline Johnson, the Johnson & Johnson heiress. He has refused to pay federal taxes, protesting marriage equality. Charles is a gay activist, artist and author.
Gay people have been silent about taxation without representation for too long. If any straight conservative blowhards were experiencing this problem that gay people have long endured, Washington would be on fire with cries of "God, Guns, and Guts!"
We LGBT's can get legally married in California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Even so, we do not get the Federal tax benefits, the important ones, because of DOMA.
DOMA's "one man and one woman" is really based on religion. DOMA attempts to coerce people into accepting the traditional, religious conception that homosexuality is immoral - contrary to what other religious view holds.
On its face, DOMA does not mention religion. A careful examination of the legislative history surrounding DOMA leads to the conclusion that it is undeniable motivated by a religious purpose.
First, the Report of the Judiciary Committee states that DOMA "entails both moral disapproval of homosexuality, and a moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) morality." Moreover, many co-sponsors of DOMA in both the House and the Senate referred to religious beliefs in their statements arguing for the bill's passage.
Representative Hutchinson stated his belief "that marriage is a covenant established by God wherein one man and one woman are united for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family."
Representative Talent noted that "the institution of marriage is not a creation of the State. It is older than the government, older than the Union, older than the Western tradition of political democracy from which our Republic springs, and I think it is deeply rooted in the basic precepts of our civilization."
And one cannot forget Senator Byrd's recitations from the book of Genesis and the Gospel of Saint Mark in the midst of his argument that "thousands of years of Judeo-Christian teachings leave absolutely no doubt as to the sanctity, purpose, and reason for the union of man and woman."
The purported secular goals of DOMA are nothing more than a sham to cover the true religious purposes of the law. First, the Judiciary Committee stated that DOMA advances the government's "interest in maintaining and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage because it (the government) has a deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing." However, there was no evidence presented which would support a connection between heterosexual-only marriage and responsible child-rearing practices.
Gender neutral married couples in CA, CT, and MA where marriage is legal, should have the same rights and benefits under the IRS tax code as married heterosexual couples in those states.
I am a widower, and was married to a woman for 23 years. She left me her estate tax-free under Federal law. The law states that the spouse of a married couple is automatically given that right.
I am now 74 and want to leave my estate to Kevin, my legally married California husband, when I am deceased.. Under current law, Kevin would have to pay estate taxes of almost 50%. That is unfair, discriminatory, in violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause (separation of church and state) and the reason I am protesting.
Would my late wife's family approve of leaving the estate that I inherited to a man ? Yes. They sent me a Tiffany clock as a wedding present and expressed in a note that they were happy I had found another person to love.
My trial is set in the US Tax Court in San Diego for next year. Your moral support and thoughts will be appreciated.
The opinions of Elizabeth McDonald (Gay Taxation Without Representation) and Tanya Marie Johnson (The Defense of Marriage Act And the Establishment Clause) contributed to this article.