For the first few months of the year, I work for a nationally known company that preparer taxes. Even though I life in a rather conservative area of the country one of the things that keeps coming up is how the SCOTUS rulings on same-sex marriage are going to effect how gay individuals will file.
Generally speaking, if a couple were legally married in a state or country that recognizes same-sex marriage, then they’d be required to file under one of the married statuses – Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. The a state may have different rules depending on the status of SSM in that state. Also, civil unions and domestic partnerships don’t count and individuals in such commitments can’t file under the married status (which is common sense really).
At least regarding federal taxes, this is one of the “breaks” that gay activists have always rallied for, as filing a joint return with one’s spouse is beneficial in an overwhelming number of cases. Though I will say that one can get to a similar tax situation (legally) through a bit of work this is admittedly an easier way of doing do.
Given that I don’t find anything wrong with the “bookkeeping accommodation” that marriage is on a secular level, I’ve suddenly started toying with the idea of a “gay marriage of convenience.” Say, for example, I do find someone and fall in love, even if I couldn’t agree to a “religious marriage” – since theologically speaking, it wouldn’t be marriage but something else entirely – it would be nice to live with certain tax breaks for choosing to partner up with someone for the long term, romantic or otherwise.
But I still get the feeling that most in the gay community still haven’t grasped the heavy importance, responsibilities and obligations that they possess now that they have made a huge headway in garnering cultural acceptance. Earlier in the week, a female coworker of mine was preparing taxes for a client who happened to be a lesbian. One thing that my coworker communicated to me was before that this client was always deathly afraid of who to come out too, for fear of reprisal and condemnation – we are in the Bible belt after all. They were talking deeply about the new laws since her client was newly engaged to her girlfriend. This year’s tax refund was going to be used for a trip to a state where they could get legally married.
I’m not “out” at work, yet, by the way, but being the youngest male working in an office full of women, I’ve pretty much been forced into the “token gay friend” role anyway, just without the fop and circumstance. But one thing that I did notice that broke my heart and sent my blood boiling was when my coworkers client started flirting with her.
I don’t understand why behavior that is inappropriate for a straight engaged couple is happily practiced and condoned for a gay couple. This is not a gay or straight thing, but a relationship thing. Marriage (and engagement) is about mutual exclusivity and commitment; flirting, serious or not just flies in the face of that.
If it were just a single isolated incident, I guess I’d feel differently. But I keep getting the same from all my friends who are more “progressive” in their understanding of trust. The value of marriage has be denigrated for at least a generation: I do not think opening it up to another subset will do anything to patch it up.