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Old 04-13-2011, 02:37 PM   #681
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IRS Is Entangled In Gay Marriage Debate

April 12, 2011


Tax Day brings a dilemma for same-sex married couples whose marriages are not recognized by the federal government. They are required to file their federal taxes as single even though they are legally married in their home state. But this year, many couples are protesting by checking the married box on their federal return.

Copyright © 2011 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Some same-sex married couples are planning a protest this tax day. They object to the federal law requiring them to check the single box on their federal tax returns. Same-sex married couples file jointly on their state tax returns, but they're still regarded as single by the federal government, based on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In defiance of that law - known as DOMA - some couples are checking the married box on their federal returns. NPR's Tovia Smith reports.

TOVIA SMITH: You don't have to read the small print about the pains and penalties of perjury to know it's not a good idea to lie to the IRS. And yet, tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married - in Massachusetts, Iowa or New Hampshire, for example - sign their federal tax returns saying they're single because legally, they have to.

Ms. NADINE SMITH: We are caught between the truth and the law, and it's an impossible situation.

SMITH: Nadine Smith got married three years ago in California and has played along, as she says, ever since - checking single on her federal tax return. But this year, she says, she just couldn't.

Ms. SMITH: We are tired of quietly being complicit in a law that tells us we must disavow our spouses, we must erase our families - or face penalties.

SMITH: Earlier this month, Smith started a website for what she's calling the Refuse To Lie campaign. In many cases, same-sex couples filing jointly would owe less. But some who are choosing to file as married are willingly paying more.

Ms. KATE KENDELL (Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights): My tax accountant thought I was crazy. And there's no doubt, it was sticker shock. And it is going to be a burden.

SMITH: Kate Kendell, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, says she and her wife are giving up their summer vacation to cover the extra $5,000 they'll pay to file jointly.

Ms. KENDELL: You know, I think there's a moment where - you know - you just have to say enough is enough, and I am going to stand up for my family and my relationship and say, this is who we are.

Ms. KAREN STOGDILL (Tax consultant): I think it's a great statement to make. I'm just not sure that the proper way to make it is to file a married-filing-joint federal income tax return.

SMITH: Tax consultant Karen Stogdill says couples who do that risk serious penalties, and still won't get any benefits of marriage from the federal government like sharing a spouse's Social Security or retirement. To avoid penalties, she advises couples to file as singles, and then file an amended return as married. Or, they can file two returns.

Either way, Stogdill says, it all amounts to an unfair burden on same-sex couples trying to figure out what to do.

Ms. STOGDILL: They call the IRS, and they talk to people at the IRS phone lines, and they can't even tell you. And so it's very sad that people can't even get proper help - even from the governmental agencies - to figure it out.

SMITH: The IRS declined to comment for this report. But even the agency's own ombudsman has called the situation quote, ridiculously complex.

The IRS has responded by saying DOMA leaves the agency no choice but to require same-sex couples to file as singles. But officials also say the IRS isn't going to spend a lot of time working on new guidelines that might help clarify things since one federal court has already ruled DOMA unconstitutional, and the future of the law is anything but certain.

Tovia Smith, NPR News.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:39 PM   #682
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Old 04-15-2011, 05:44 AM   #683
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Default DELAWARE!

Civil Union bill passed in the House last night. Governor Jack Markell says he will sign "as soon as there is a suitable place and time". So, we are golden!

It seems as though this was pretty grass roots, too. DE only received $2,500from HRC in support for this to happen, even though DE was a state they were supposedly focused on. But, I guess we didn't need any more than that!
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:56 AM   #684
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DapperButch View Post
Civil Union bill passed in the House last night. Governor Jack Markell says he will sign "as soon as there is a suitable place and time". So, we are golden!

It seems as though this was pretty grass roots, too. DE only received $2,500from HRC in support for this to happen, even though DE was a state they were supposedly focused on. But, I guess we didn't need any more than that!
What wonderful news! Congratulations to the people of Delaware!
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:11 PM   #685
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HURRAY FOR DELAWARIANS
Smooches,
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:29 PM   #686
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Delaware- you Rawk! Great news!!
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:46 PM   #687
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:05 PM   #688
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what's the source?
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:08 AM   #689
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what's the source?
Apologies! Here is the article about the poll and the poll source:

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes...-in-minority/#

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/im...4/19/rel6h.pdf

NYT refers to it as the fourth credible poll to have come out recently that shows this equality trend. Here are the other ones:

http://pollingreport.com/civil.htm

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Old 04-27-2011, 02:29 AM   #690
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Default Opponents of gay marriage announce a motion to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's decision after he confirms his sexual orientation

New Push to Reverse Prop 8 Decision Because Judge Is Gay.


Adam Martin Adam Martin – Tue Apr 26, 5:25 pm ET
The National Organization for Marriage wants Judge Vaughn Walker's decision on Prop 8 last summer thrown up, and they filed a motion to that effect yesterday. Supporters of the anti-gay marriage law think the judge should have recused himself because he is gay and in a long-term relationship. But proponents of gay marriage, who have challenged the constitutionality of the law, say the judge's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his decision in the case, and besides, it was well known even before the judge struck down law on August 4 and nobody complained.
Here's the background: In 2008, California voters passed the California Marriage Protection Act (state proposition 8), which changed the state constitution to define marriage as "only marriage between a man and a woman." Just days after the vote, several groups filed suits in federal district court, calling for the law to be overturned on the grounds that it infringed on civil rights.
Walker, the chief judge of the San Francisco-based ninth federal court district, ruled on August 4, 2010, that the law "discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and gender," according to longtime San Francisco Chronicle federal court reporter Bob Egelko. Walker retired this year. The Chronicle reported on Walker's sexuality during the trial, and the Los Angeles Times notes that he "was widely known within San Francisco's legal community to be gay. He brought his partner to bar events and introduced him to others as his partner." So why didn't NOM and its lawyers make a big deal out of his sexuality until yesterday?
It seems the thing that really got under NOM's skin was that Walker started showing a three-minute video of the Prop. 8 trial in lectures he has been giving post-retirement. On April 13, they filed a motion to stop him showing the video, and they pressed the attack Monday with the request to void the trial. "Judge Walker's ten-year-long same-sex relationship creates the unavoidable impression that he was not the impartial judge the law requires," Andy Pugno, a lawyer for ProtectMarriage, told the L.A. Times. "He was obligated to either recuse himself or provide full disclosure of this relationship at the outset of the case."
But opponents of the law have laughed off the challenge: "What's next? Are they going to say all female judges should recuse themselves from gender discrimination cases," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera asked the Chronicle. San Francisco is a plaintiff in the case.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:50 PM   #691
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How come it's not a conflict of interest for straight (married) folks to rule on Prop 8? Why is it only a conflict if you are gay?
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:45 PM   #692
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NEW YORK: Leading Spanish-Language Paper Endorses Marriage Equality

The most widely-read Spanish-language newspaper in New York has published an editorial endorsing same-sex marriage. Capitol Confidential sees a jab at Sen. Ruben Diaz in the second (translated) paragraph below from El Diario.
New York needs and is ready for this change. Our gay population is bigger than the seven nearby jurisdictions (six states plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized same-sex marriage. And close to 60 percent of New Yorkers support gay marriage.

Governor Cuomo’s campaign merits all the the support of the Latino community, including those who are opposed for religious reasons. Officials in this position should remember that they were elected to serve the public (independent of its sexual orientation) under American laws, which were established with a clear distinction between church and state. Latinos should also remember our collective fight is against discrimination and marginalization.

Homosexuality is a human reality. The majority of New Yorkers have a friend, colleague or relative who’s gay. It’s time to give these people the opportunity to develop families and build communities. Our government shouldn’t be in the business of telling the people who to love or who to marry.
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:55 AM   #693
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Default Attorney General Orders Deportation Order Vacated.

"An order to vacate from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder halting the deportation of a foreign national in a civil union may be sign of hope for bi-national same-sex couples in the United States who are facing separation.

In the decision, dated April 26, Holder remands back to the Board of Immigration Appeals the case of Paul Wilson Dorman — a New Jersey man who’s apparently seeking residency in the United States through his partner — to reassess a previous petition that was denied based on the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The order was made public Thursday.

“In the exercise of my review authority under that regulation, and upon consideration of the record in this case, I direct that the order of the Board be vacated and that this matter be remanded to the Board to make such findings as may be necessary to determine whether and how the constitutionality of DOMA is presented in this case,” Holder writes."


Full story here.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:28 PM   #694
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:23 AM   #695
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Default The best ad for marriage equality so far.

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Old 06-01-2011, 12:48 PM   #696
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Default From the Prop 8 Trial Tracker

The 11-year evolution of civil unions
By Adam Bink

As Illinois takes a step forward today when the state begins issuing civil union licenses, I am reminded of the hullabaloo surrounding the same moment in Vermont on July 1, 2000: the creation of a new institution that for many was eerily close to marriage. I did some reading this morning of the news coverage, and below is an excerpt of an article from the Los Angeles Times 11 years ago:

A Historic Day in Vermont as Civil Unions Become Legal
by Elizabeth Mehren

BRATTLEBORO, Vt.–Mindful of a law banning booze on municipal property, Annette Cappy will stop short of serving champagne. But to the town clerk in this southern Vermont village, opening her office just after midnight this morning–the minute that civil unions between same-sex couples become legal here–seems like the right thing to do.

“This office has been known to stay open for 24 hours on the first day of hunting season,” Cappy said. “I figure if we did it for people who want to shoot animals, I can do it for two people in love.”

Sure enough, as the nation’s most sweeping gay rights legislation takes effect today, scores of couples from around Vermont, and some from outside the state, will descend on town halls to plunk down $20 for a license giving them everything heterosexual couples have–except the word “marriage.” Much of the state is celebrating, but some opponents of what amounts to gay marriage are less than overjoyed. Though no one could predict just how many civil union licenses would be issued today, some who sought them laughed about Vermont’s new argot.

“David and I are saying we’re being unionized,” said John Castaldo, who can now legally refer to his companion of eight years, David Myette, as his spouse. The couple lives in Waterbury, where Castaldo, 51, works for a granite consortium and Myette, 52, handles financial aid for a small college.

With a 9 a.m. appointment to get their civil union license from the town clerk in tiny Williston, 57-year-old Lynn Goyette said she and Eileen Blackwood, 41, would continue to call each other what for 13 years they always have. “Hon.”

Perhaps predictably, a clever strain of commercialism is finding its way into the weekend’s celebrations. Jewelers from around the state pushed “civil union rings.” Bakers made sure to have lots of same-sex wedding figures on hand to stick on top of cakes. A boutique brewery (owned by lesbians) issued a new golden amber, Gay Pride Ale. Brewery partners Liz Trott and Janice Moran marketed their elixir with the slogan, “The beer to come out for.”

300 Benefits Extended to Same-Sex Couples

Vermont’s groundbreaking law extends more than 300 benefits normally associated with marriage to gay and lesbian couples. To couples who form a civil union, inheritance rights are now automatic, as are the authority to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner, the right to take control of a partner’s body upon death, the right to transfer property from one partner to another without tax consequences and the right to be treated as an economic unit for tax purposes. Conversely, a civil union must be dissolved in a court proceeding similar to divorce.

“It’s a huge step,” said Blackwood, a lawyer. Three years ago, after 10 years together, she and Goyette, a mental health counselor, held a giant, weeklong celebration to affirm their commitment among family and friends. They wear rings because, Goyette said, “we’re ring people.” But both see marriage as a patriarchal institution–so much so that when the law passed, Blackwood called Goyette to crow, “Guess what, we don’t have to get married!”

Still, the pair saw civil union status as such a significant civil rights victory that they wanted to be among the first to sign up. “In this case,” said Blackwood, “the personal is definitely political.”

Though the benefits of the bill passed in April after sometimes agonizing debate do not apply outside Vermont, some couples nonetheless trekked here from other states and places. Cappy had appointments for couples from New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

“It’s by far the greatest thing that’s happened to gay people in the United States,” said John Campbell, who is driving to Vermont from Edison, N.J., for a civil union ceremony with Richard Harrison, his partner of 13 years.

Campbell, a retired VA Hospital administrator, is 70 (“you would ask”) and HBO executive Harrison is 45. “But he was the aggressor,” Campbell insisted. “He went after a dirty old man like me and he got me.” Long ago they drew up living wills, put all their possessions in both names and began wearing matching rings. So to some extent, they conceded, their vows in Vermont before a justice of the peace will be symbolic only.

“We’re just celebrating the fact that a state is recognizing a relationship like ours,” Campbell said. “If it was marriage, we’d be coming home and throwing a big reception. But it’s not, so we won’t be doing that. We’re just so excited that this is happening.”

Not everyone shares this enthusiasm. The town clerks in half a dozen or so Vermont hamlets resigned rather than distribute civil union licenses. “It’s a moral issue with me,” explained Helen O’Donnell, as she resigned the clerkship of Tunbridge. “I don’t want my name on a document supporting that.”

A group of 15 state legislators promised to renew their efforts after they lost a court battle to overturn the law. Groups with names like Vermont Speaks, Vermonters Taking a Stand and Vermonters for Traditional Marriage have sprouted in direct opposition of the law. Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat who changed his mind after initial opposition, last week wrote the state’s Catholic bishop, urging him to make sure that “hatred and intolerance will have no place” in the debate.

Milestone Comes Amid Court Defeat

Vermont’s breakthrough in civil rights for gays and lesbians takes effect, moreover, in the same week when they suffered a bitter defeat as the U.S. Supreme Court approved banning gays from leadership positions in the Boy Scouts.

But Bill Lippert, the state’s only openly gay legislator, said the progress in Vermont is irrevocable. “Despite all the threats by all the opponents we will never go back,” said Lippert, who helped draft the legislation.

“The significance goes well beyond the couples who are adult right now,” he said. “For the young gay and lesbian people, they now get to grow up with the image of the choice and the possibility of forming loving, deeply committed relationships that can be affirmed with all the legal protections and rights that any other couple can have, at least in the state of Vermont.”

Castaldo said one reason they were delaying their ceremony until August is that Myette’s 26-year-old son from a long-ago marriage would be home from Japan to stand up for his father. An Episcopal priest will administer their vows at their home, with splendid mountain views all around. After eight years together, Castaldo said he and Myette will trade rings and probably wear suits for the ceremony, then change into shorts for a grand old barbecue.

“Why do it?” asked Castaldo. “I think we want to take our relationship up one level. We both realize we want to be able to do this commitment for ourselves spiritually, but I think a lot has to do with legal protection. Our biggest fear is that if one of us is sick, we would be denied access.”

The real telling paragraph is the final one (bolding mine)

Was the Green Mountain state setting the stage for the rest of the country? Advocates are optimistic that several other states, including Hawaii and New Hampshire, may consider similar measures. “I hope so,” said Farnham. “I hope so.”

It certainly has. We’ve advanced to a place where civil unions, as Jeremy writes this morning, are “step one” on the path to full recognition. We’ve also advanced to where civil unions, nearly 11 years later, aren’t nearly as much news. Contrast the piece above with today’s NYTimes:

CHICAGO — Illinois has begun giving out licenses to couples who want to form a civil union.

Hundreds of couples lined up early Wednesday to get licenses as the state’s new law went into effect. It allows gay and lesbian or straight couples to form civil unions, a rough equivalent to marriage.

Civil unions give couples many of the rights that accompany traditional marriage. That includes the power to decide medical treatment for an ailing partner and the right to inherit a partner’s property.

The first civil union ceremonies can’t take place until Thursday.

Cook County Clerk David Orr says it will be “a joyous day for all couples, gay and straight, who want to make history.”

I think a lot of people will read and not even give it the second thought they might have 11 years ago. Progress.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:21 PM   #697
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The ruling made by Judge Walker declaring that Prop 8 was unconstitutional was just upheld.

I am not sure if you all knew that the forces behind Prop 8 were trying to get Judge Walkers decision thrown out based on the fact that he is Gay and has something (Same-sex marriage) to gain from his ruling.

This only means the decision will not be vacated, the original case is still before the Ninth Circut Court of Appeals.

I'm working and can't post again until later, so if anyone gets ahold of an actual published news item please post it so I can read it later. Please????
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:28 PM   #698
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Originally Posted by MsTinkerbelly View Post
The ruling made by Judge Walker declaring that Prop 8 was unconstitutional was just upheld.

I am not sure if you all knew that the forces behind Prop 8 were trying to get Judge Walkers decision thrown out based on the fact that he is Gay and has something (Same-sex marriage) to gain from his ruling.

This only means the decision will not be vacated, the original case is still before the Ninth Circut Court of Appeals.

I'm working and can't post again until later, so if anyone gets ahold of an actual published news item please post it so I can read it later. Please????
Haven't found anything on Prop 8 today thus far, but I did run across this bit of good news:

NY Gov. Introduces Marriage Bill as Support Swells

http://glaadblog.org/2011/06/14/ny-g...upport-swells/
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:31 PM   #699
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By Dan Levine and Peter Henderson Dan Levine And Peter Henderson – 22 mins ago
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A U.S. judge's same-sex relationship is no reason to toss out his ruling backing same-sex matrimony, another federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Doing otherwise would send a message that minority judges could not rule in civil rights cases, ruled Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware, who upheld the decision to overturn California's gay marriage ban.

In pointed language Ware slapped down the attempt to throw out his gay former colleague's decision as an attack on standards of judicial impartiality, saying it ignored the idea that protecting the rights of minorities benefits all.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco last year struck down California's same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, and supporters of the ban now say his ruling was compromised and should be vacated.

The case was immediately appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It could set national policy if it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court and is being watched throughout the nation, where same-sex marriage is legal in only a handful of states.

In a written ruling, Judge Ware said Walker's same-sex relationship was no reason to throw out his decision. Ware took over the case after Walker retired earlier this year.

"Standards such as those advocated by the pro-ban attorneys would come dangerously close to forcing minority judges to excuse themselves from civil rights cases, wrote Ware, an African-American appointed by former President George H.W. Bush.

Shortly after Walker retired, he discussed his homosexuality in the press for the first time, saying he is in a 10-year relationship with a physician.

That led opponents of same-sex marriage to ask that Walker's ruling be vacated. Walker's relationship put him in the same shoes as the plaintiffs, and should have been disclosed when he was assigned to the case, their attorneys argued.

"This is a powerful ruling that makes clear that gay and lesbian judges are entitled to the same presumptions of fairness and impartiality as all other federal judges," said Theodore Boutrous, an attorney representing two same-sex couples seeking to overturn the California ban.

In his ruling, Ware he shot down the argument that Walker's silence about his relationship could be taken as an implicit indication of his interest, saying that judges were presumed to be impartial.

"The presumption that Judge Walker, by virtue of being in a same-sex relationship, had a desire to be married that rendered him incapable of making an impartial decision," Ware wrote, "is as warrantless as the presumption that a female judge is incapable of being impartial in a case in which women seek legal relief."

The 9th Circuit court is still considering the constitutional issues surrounding gay marriage and has asked the California Supreme Court to weigh in on one point of state law.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 09-2292.

(Reporting by Dan Levine and Peter Henderson; editing by Christopher Wilson
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:32 PM   #700
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Originally Posted by Jess View Post
Haven't found anything on Prop 8 today thus far, but I did run across this bit of good news:

NY Gov. Introduces Marriage Bill as Support Swells

http://glaadblog.org/2011/06/14/ny-g...upport-swells/


Great news Jess!
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