So I know everyone is whipped up about gay marriage (amongst other things) these days and I honestly can’t imagine what all the hoopla is about. I mean, as a gay man that has been happily partnered for longer than most heterosexual marriages I know, I have to say that I don’t know why a certain segment of our society gets themselves all worked up over the word ‘marriage’. I’ll leave your imagination to ponder which segment I’m referring to when it comes to those getting worked up, but I will say this: as long as I am guaranteed the EXACT same rights as my heterosexual counterparts but still referred to as a “civil union” then I have no issues with nomenclature. Most look at it as that marriage is “better than” a civil union but I tend to spin it around and look at it the other way: I wasn’t forced to eat a stale cake, I didn’t have to dance for dollars and I didn’t have to do the hokey pokey. To me, civil union means the same thing as marriage without the organised religious influence.
While I certainly want and demand legal recognition of my partnership, I’m sure many gay men and lesbians will agree with me that there is at least one advantage to not being able to declare “married” on our federal tax return. Many gay men and lesbians are rather affluent and bring in a good amount of income. Let’s say Dirk makes $200,000 a year and his partner Bruce makes $100,000 a year. Together they make $300,000. Dirk and Bruce have been together a decade or so and dump all of their income into their jointly owned house, land and smattering of bank accounts. Because Dirk and Bruce are not legally married and there union is not recognised as valid by Ol’ Glory, they are not obligated to report their income as combined, therefore Dirk makes $200K in the eyes of Uncle Sam and Bruce makes $100K in the same way, easily skirting that coveted $250K limit where the taxes get really deep and the hands of Uncle Sam get really grabby. Granted, we miss several tax breaks for not being married but when you’re starting to throw around the big numbers I think this becomes negligible.
Now I realise that this is a consolation prize in the grand scheme of things and legal recognition is what most of us really want and to be honest I believe that if I’m not allowed to be legally partnered on the federal level to the person I love then I shouldn’t have to pay full taxes anyway, but there is a very small amount of smirkiness I feel knowing that I could be skirting a part of the tax code on THEIR technicality.