“No taxation without representation!” is a familiar quote from the early days of the American revolution. And just as the colonists had no means of controlling the way their taxes where used, same-sex families have no way of being eligible for the benefits opposites-sex couples take for granted.
When the basic civil right of marriage is denied same-sex couples, the underlying question then becomes “Should gay men and lesbians be obligated to pay taxes for a government which routinely denies them access to so many basic human rights — especially the right to legal marriage benefits?”
Those who say same-sex couples must not be allowed legal marriage can not have it both ways — they seem to want us to pay taxes, without being eligible for any of the privileges and benefits that these taxes finance. Legal marriage triggers more than 1,138 rights and responsibilities through Federal laws [See U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married], plus 150-350 more benefits depending on the state. This lack of equal access is not the American way. If same-sex couples don’t deserve equal footing in this democracy, then those who don’t want legal marriage for same-sex couples should launch a campaign to also prevent same-sex families from paying taxes which support these benefits.
And it’s not just marriage benefits that are denied lesbians and gay men. Florida and New Hampshire laws refuse adoption to known homosexuals. Arkansas and Utah recently approved regulations banning gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people from becoming foster parents. The right to adopt or provide foster care is also under attack in Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia.
Colorado passed a law called Amendment 2, which has since been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Before it was invalidated, this law forbade any other laws which addressed discrimination against lesbians and gay men. It also had forbidden any political redress for lesbians and gay men. When that law was devised, the State of Colorado should have insisted that its lesbian and gay population stop paying taxes because the government had stopped representing its lesbian and gay citizens.
Nineteen states still have so-called “sodomy” laws on their books. These laws belittle, attempt to subjugate, and define lesbians and gay men as not fully human. Even if they are infrequently enforced, they are used as an argument to deny jobs, housing and child custody, by claiming that lesbians and gay men are felons by inclination, if not deed.
To help make it clear that lesbians and gay men are second-class citizens, and don’t deserve to be treated like all other Americans, here is a modest proposal:
A Contract with Gay America
We think that gay men and lesbians should receive tax breaks proportioned precisely on the percent by which they are denied access:
- Social Security for survivor’s benefits
because they cannot get survivor’s benefits when their partners die.
- Federal Taxes for military personnel
because they are refused enlistment, hunted if in the service, and discharged.
- State Taxes for child welfare
because they are prevented from having custody of children, being a foster parent, or adopting children.
- Local Taxes for schools
because they are fired from teaching jobs.
- Local Taxes that support the police
because the police routinely underreport, if they report at all, the hate crimes perpetuated against lesbians and gay men.
A minority of Americans loudly insist that lesbians and gay men should not be allowed to have children, should not be teachers, should not be in the military, and they want marriage to remain the exclusive domain of the opposite-sex couple. They are doing their best to prevent lesbians and gay men from fully participating in American society. Shouldn’t they also insist that gay men and lesbians not pay that share of taxes which go to support child welfare, schools, military, and the benefits of legal marriage?
The Republican party, for one, keeps insisting that taxes should be cut. Well, here is an excellent place to start.
© 1999, Demian