Because taxes are due in less than a day (tonight at midnight folks!), I reprinting and revising a blog I posted back in January:
What I lose by living in a state that does not recognize same-gender marriage
As I’ve said, Marianne and I live in North Carolina, a state which neither legally allow same-gender marriage nor recognizes same-gender marriages performed in other states. The New York Times currently has a “Bucks” blog called “The Cost of Being Gay.”
Because New York state recently started marrying same gender couples (they had already recognized civil unions performed in other states), the Times did a piece in June on all the state benefits those couples would now receive. Looking at it from my perspective, these are all the things I lose because North Carolina does not recognize my marriage.
- Filing joint income tax and taking advantage of a so-called “marriage credit;”
- Health insurance tax breaks. At my job, Marianne is eligible to be covered under my health insurance, but I am taxed on the value of her benefits because we are not recognized as an “economic unit,” unlike opposite-gender couples;
- Parentage (either by birth or adoption). North Carolina does not allow what’s called Second-Parent Adoption, so if Marianne and I ever decide to adopt, only one of us can be legally recognized as the parent. Being recognized as a legal parent to a child from the start is important, especially when it comes to making medical decisions on behalf of the child and adding the child to my health insurance;
- Worker’s Compensation benefits. God forbid something happen to either me or Marianne at work, but if it did we would not be eligible for the other’s worker’s compensation benefits or to be able to sue for wrongful death;
- Defeat of DOMA. If, ultimately, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) gets struck down it may put us in an awkward situation for a bit where we could take advantage of federal benefits but not state ones.
All hope is not lost. Other “Cost of Being Gay” blogs cover private companies doing what they can to help same-gender couples out economically where they can. That’s not to say companies are trying to advantage same-gender couples over other couples, just trying to make things economically fair.
Having spent about three more months thinking about it, I am no longer demanding that my state give me the right to “marry” per se, but I do think everyone ought to have the ability to take advantage of the economic advantages given to married folks – call it civil union, call it domestic partnership, call it whatever you want – mostly because I don’t think the government is ever going to get out of the marriage business.
Personally, I feel like the government ought to uncouple (ha!) any tax, healthcare, etc. advantages from marriage and give them to people regardless of marital status, but that’s a whole other blog. I tried to articulate that last Tuesday, but I think it fell flat. Is what it is and I need to spend some more time thinking on it. As my mother reminded me over text message, writers have lots of crumpled up pages on the floor of their office before they (sometimes) get it right.
Anyway, happy tax day!