Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mixed messages

I know I'm in the minority in the gay blog world, but I am not thrilled about the much publicized effort of the Obama Administration to get gay couples to check off "married" on the US Census form.

First of all, I am tired of gay people being told we should lie.  The federal government does not recognize our marriages, yet the federal government wants us to check off "yes" under marital status, then sign a form that states we swear that the info we provided is true.

It's a new version of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, another policy the requires us to lie. I call it Tell, but Don't Ask.

That the filling out of the census occurs at the same time we filled out tax forms is, to say the least, ironic.  On one sheet of paper, I'm asked to acknowledge our marriage.  Yet my husband and I cannot fill out a joint tax return.  In the process of doing our taxes, we were also reminded that unlike folks in straight marriages, if one of us should die, the other would have to pay a heavy tax on anything left to us.  Pensions, house, life insurance -- all of this would be taxed heavily.  To make matters worse, we also discovered that any stock options -- just options, mind you -- that are left to me if my husband should die would also be taxed.  The result?  I will actually be in significant debt to the federal government if my husband should predecease me.

And I'm supposed to be grateful about the census?

The federal government wants to count me, but it doesn't want to count me in.  If this isn't the very definition of tokenism, I don't know what is.

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