Scott K

Scott K
Location
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Birthday
October 09
Bio
Scott K is a gay man living in sin with his partner of over twelve years whom he still cannot legally marry. Scott says he's politically active not because he wants to be, but rather feels he has to be. He takes very seriously Thomas Jefferson's famous quote "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" which, strangely enough, he thinks he first heard on an episode of The Simpsons. Scott has one cat, two dogs, and a lot of opinions.

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 20, 2009 11:55AM

Joint Filing: Why I Really Want To Marry My Same-Sex Partner

Rate: 34 Flag

It's tax time again.

This past week, my same-sex partner of thirteen years and I gathered together all of our W2's, 1099's, and other documents and began the arduous task of filing our returns. We have a tax program that we've used for several years now, so the process is a little less painful. That is, it wasn't painful until the program told us, "Based on the information you have provided, your filing status is Single."

Every year that hits me like a slap in the face. According to the U.S. Government, I am single. This guy by my side that has stood by me through thick and thin... well he must just be my friend. Or roommate. Hell, he could be Santa Claus for all the IRS cares. And so once again this year, we filed our taxes separately under the Single filing status.

Filling out the separate returns really is not a big deal from a task perspective. Sure it's a little extra paperwork, but that's not my gripe. I am primarily curious about how our tax liability might be different if we could file a joint return. You see, we own a house together like any married couple would, but only one of us gets to claim the mortgage interest on our statement. We save up all our donation receipts and put them on one tax return, even though the items donated were both of ours. I cannot help but wonder if it would save us money if we were allowed to file joint. We might be better off filing separately, but that is not the issue. Not even having the option of filing joint is.

And that is the real reason why I want to marry my partner.

Conservatives like to claim that gay marriage makes a mockery of "God's law" and marriage in general, but the divorce rate shows that they've already accomplished that quite well on their own without our help. Quite frankly, I could not care less if my marriage is "blessed" by the conservatives. I know what my partner and I have is real, and I do not need anyone's approval for it. Even so, I want the same rights heterosexual married partners have.

Beyond filing taxes, there are numerous other situations where being married would be beneficial. When one of us finally dies, I do not want to have to fight some long lost "blood relative" of his for the house and possessions that we share. Without a carefully worded will, that is a real possibility. Also if either of us is ever hospitalized, I want to make sure the other one is not barred from being bedside because they are not "immediate family." I could continue to cite examples such as these, and the list would go on and on.

So what is the conservatives' point in banning same-sex marriage then? Is it to prevent me from filing my taxes jointly with my partner? If that's the case, that is a clear violation of separation of church and state: your religious beliefs should not affect my tax return. More likely, the conservatives hope to discourage homosexuality and more importantly, gay sex by blocking gays and lesbians from getting married. If it wasn't specifically about preventing gay sex, why would so many churches adopt the attitude of "love the sinner, hate the sin?" According to that line of thinking, is it okay to be gay as long as you never act on it?

It would appear that what really gets the religious right's panties in a bunch is the idea of me having sex with my partner. It disturbs them deeply (and the all the Freudian reasons for that are the topic for another blog post). Well then they should allow us get married! Talk to any straight couple who has been married several years and ask them the frequency of their sexual relations now as opposed to when they were single or first got married. Everyone knows that the sex life drops after several years of marriage. While I am not prepared to cite statistics here, I would bet un-partnered gay people have much more sex than a couple like me and my partner who have been together several years. Why then, gay marriage could be the conservative right's secret weapon in reducing gay sex from occurring (well that, and keeping at tighter leash on Republican congressmen).

What it all comes down to is this: you either believe the act of gay sex is right or wrong. You may base your belief on what your religion tells you, and I'll even defend your right to have that conviction. In the end though, someone's religious beliefs about my sex life shouldn't be allowed to discriminate against me on my tax return.

What do you think?

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Heterosexual have the option of choosing whether to file jointly or individually while us gay couples don't. I call it special rights... for them.
Y'all move to Canada, where we have gay marriage. What's a little snow?
Tax returns are such a God-awful mess that one more bit of silly reasoning isn't a big deal. I'll support your right to marry the person you love for all the other reasons you state.
In case you didn't know there is such a thing as a marriage penalty...I'm a conservative and as far as I'm concerned I don't care if you and your partner get married. I think government should stay out of all of our lives and defend our borders and regulate interstate commerce. That is all they should do....
I think you're absolutely right! To be honest with you, my gay "not-married" friends have a much better track record of staying together than my "officially married" straight friends, so this too should make the cons happy.
re: "marriage penalty". Maybe for some married couples, but not all. Regardless, married couples have a choice of filing under whatever status benefits them.
I agree 100%

The thing that irks me is the concept of "gay acts." What does that mean exactly? If they mean gay sex then they should say so. Everything a gay or lesbian person does is a gay act. Get up, make coffee, shower, go to work: all gay acts. The frequency of having sex is a relatively small percentage of all of the behaviors in one's life.

These haters need to leave us alone. They should direct their "righteous anger" at something worthy like murderers, thieves and sexual predators.
With you, Scott.

Besides the religious right, what gives anyone else a philosophical to keep fostering a second-class citizenry? Why is there support for one's right to exist and perhaps not to be killed or get the shit beat out of him or her, but not not to have simple, fundamental rights to be left alone and to engage in a contract? This should have been clear from Loving v. Virginia alone.

Does sex play a part? Sure. Religious scholar Charles Long once wrote about the concept "Signifying," concerning the value given to race. Basically, as I sum it, society imputes a value to race in order to justify policies that are inimical to civil rights and human dignity. These judgments have been applied to every stereotype about gender, orientation, race, disability and social status.

Just as there needs to be federal protection of sexual orientation in the workplace, there needs to be fundamental rights of marriage, or we in the U.S. society do not truly understand dignity.
I agree.. government has no right in our personal lives. No one asks heterosexual married couples what they do in bed and uses that as a basis for denying them rights. Why should it matter what you do as a consenting adult behind closed doors?

On the bright side, it always takes the law a couple of decades to catch up to the current social conditions. Keep fighting and posting...
It's feels a lot like some kind of psycological warfare on the part of the "religious wrong", that they revel in calling those of us who've been partnered for a significant period of time "single". Terry and I have been together over 15 years now... which is longer than some of my siblings and my siblings children have been married. Yet somehow I am still viewed as single. Go figure.

The only point I'd disagree with in your post is the notion of "separation of church and state". It's taught to us in elementary school -- yet it isn't practiced. I've seen nothing in the USA that would indicate we live in a country where one is truly free to "pursue happiness" in any way they wish. It's purely lip-service on the part of the politically active on all sides of the fence. No matter what the constitution says, the bottom line is that when push comes to shove, the "religious wrong" can still manage to sway masses with substance-less fear of those whom are not in their opinion "normal".

We seem to concern ourselves with overhauling the laws and our government. But it seems to me what is really required is an overhaul of the predominant religious orders that we have to co-exist with.

I don't fault people for their choice of spiritual guidance, but I can fault them for choosing to impose their religious beliefs on me. And the bottom line simply is... that is exactly what this boils down to. It's not a matter of law -- it's a matter of someone else telling me that I am not up to their "spiritual snuff" and therefor not their equal.
it seems so obvious.....and yet so many are so outraged by our existence.... frankly, i'm waiting for the 'no's' to age out of voting.
More power to you, pal, I agree with you completely regarding religious beliefs vs. our individual rights. It should be hilarious that in the 21st century we're still operating on millennia-old notions of morality... except that it's not funny, it's fucking tragic.
Where to start?

So did you do a joint tax return to see what would happen if the two of you could combine income and taxes? What was the outcome?

What we have in the Constitution is the "pursuit of happiness". I don't remember where the outcome was promised, just the pursuit .

Why do you think it's just conservatives? Look at prop 8. It went down by more than by just conservatives.

I hope you do get the laws changed. What have you done to get them changed? Have you spoken to your Congressman lately? Have you run for office or supported someone who believes like you? If you want it changed you have to go for it.

Filing taxes is the least of your problems.
@Catnlion-

You write "So did you do a joint tax return to see what would happen if the two of you could combine income and taxes? What was the outcome?"

Who cares what the outcome was or would be? The point is that I should have the *option* to file jointly. If that option is made available to my straight counterparts, it should not be denied to me because of someone's religious objections to my relationship.

You also write "Why do you think it's just conservatives? Look at prop 8. It went down by more than by just conservatives."

I don't think it's just conservatives. I am referring to social conservatives and the religious right when I use the term "conservatives." I do think there are liberals/moderates who voted for Prop. 8, but I think that was mainly out of ignorance. Fear was also probably a factor based on the ads the religious right were running telling people their own marriage would be threatened if gays were allowed to marry.

As to what have I done to work towards marriage equality-

Let's see:

- I belong to the Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org), Equality Arizona, and several other GLBT groups

-I've donated money to marriage equality organizations and candidates who support marriage equality

-I have campaigned for and made phone calls for progressive candidates who support, at minimum, civil unions.

-I routinely call or write my congresspersons regarding marriage equality legislation.

-I've educated my friends, family, and coworkers as to the need for marriage equality in the eyes of the law.

-I write blog posts such as this one to spread the word as to why marriage equality in necessary.

So don't try to tell me I'm not doing my part.

Finally, regarding your point "What we have in the Constitution is the "pursuit of happiness". I don't remember where the outcome was promised, just the pursuit "-

Happiness and equality are two different things. Don't try to mix terms to muddle the issue.
Being a bit passive-aggressive at times, my thoughts are that if straights won't recognize your marriage, don't recognize theirs. Refer to their spouses as their "partners". Treat them always as two separate people rather than a couple who enjoy doing things together. Perhaps if they have their own committed relationship invalidated, they will be less inclined to invalidate your own.

What I would like to see is for gay marriage to quit being framed in terms of "gay rights" or worse, "special rights" and start being referred to as "human rights". Last I checked, you were still human. You are being denied the rights other humans take for granted. It's time for this to change.
@RenaissanceLady-

Excellent idea.

My own personal idea of how to solve the marriage equality issue is this: Get the government out of the business of marriage. Conservatives claim that marriage is a religious institution. Fine. Then the government shouldn't be marry anybody.

Let the government grant "civil unions" in place of marriage. Both gays and straights then could get a civil union from the government.

Marriage then would remain a religious institution. If people wanted to get married, they could do so through their church. The church would decide whether or not they would allow same-sex couples to get married. Marriage though would have nothing to do with legal benefits and government recognition of the relationship. As such nobody would be denied legal rights if they weren't "married" in a church.
Happiness and equality are two different things. Don't try to mix terms to muddle the issue.

Quoted for righteous truth.

rated.
I hope you get your joint tax return filing one day soon. You deserve it.
Rated.
Scott, you are absolutely, 100%, totally, right on in your response to RL.
Scott,
You have an excellent idea. My UU church has always condoned and participated in same sex weddings, which unfortunately is not recognized by any state I've lived in. Your idea would change that.
Thank you so much for writing this,
RL
Scott,

Let me start by saying that I'm glad you are working to get things done. Many people just bitch but never do anything.

Some of the questions were not totally about you. For example, resistanceisfruitful stated that heterosexual have the option of choosing whether to file jointly or individually.

That is not totally true. Married can file married filing jointly or married filing separate. Normally the only married people who file separate are those getting divorced or those who don't want to be involved in how the spouse is doing the return.
Very good post. But, probably because your partner is also a US citizen, you missed an even more crucial human right that can be denied to gays - the right to live with your loved one.

Some background: I came to the US on a student visa. While in school here, I met and fell in love with an American. Luckily for me, I am straight, so we were able to have an official (civil) marriage.

Based on this marriage, I was immediately able to apply for a green card, which lets me legally live and work in the US. Similarly, my husband was able to get a PIO card, which gives him the right to live and work in India. We hope to spend time living in both countries with our children.

What if I were gay? Without a legal civil marriage, I could not get a family-based green card. My husband would definitely not get a PIO card since India does not recognize gay marriage as well. So when I finished college, I would have had to leave the US since my student visa would expire. My husband wouldn't be able to come and live with me in India either because all he could get would be 6 month tourist visas.

Honestly, I am not sure what gay people do in situations like this - it's like a Victorian novel where you love somebody but must pine for them from afar.

Finally, for all the strum und drang about Prop 8 in California, the issue was mainly symbolic - it turns out that the marriages wouldn't count for federal benefits because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Glenn Greenwald had an excellent column about this in the main Salon.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/11/06/doma/index.html
Hi am new here, and found you on the front page. My take on the issue is on my real bloghome at WP: http://nabinatrisha.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/an-unfinished-song/
And I agree with TS, about the government's role and ikilledhiswife's comment abt how Law takes time to catch up and that we keep writing about it.

Also, as teacher I feel, its just not the govt wh really represents you and me and us in the capital, we need to adopt the right attitude, stop persecuting, start teaching our kids the tolerant ways of civilized living and basically work at the root of social problems such as these - the people who sit there and make policies today were raised by a mom and a family that didn't know better.Its not THEM, its us, WE are the problem, Mike.

Lyric didn't die (bec she is ordinary aft all) but if she had, she wd have got Press, and the matter wd hve cracked open and people forced to sit up and act probably.
It should be equal. It is a travesty that it is not.
Cat - I stand corrected on the wording of my statement, but my point remains. Hope you enjoyed the parsing.
Your situation of more than one wife actually takes the issue to a whole new level that deserves discussion, but I don't want to hijack Scott's thread. I'll be watching to see if you address it at your place.
I'm with you Scott. Congratulations on 15 years.

I love the argument that sex outside of marriage is a sin, but the state gets to define marriage. Or that marriage should be for couples who can -- theoretically -- reproduce, but which ignore golden age marriages. Or that marriage shouldn't be just for the rights when lots of marriages are just for the sake of belonging to the community.

Bottom line for me is this: Our laws recognize that communities and the nation benefits when two previously unrelated adults make a legally binding commitment to care for each other.

We should spend less time looking at the "adults" in that sentence and more time looking at the "care".
I have a number of gay friends in the exact same situation as you. Your arguments are clear, smart and correct. You get no argument from me. I wish I could officiate (or at leas witness) every person's "RIGHT" to marry the partner of choice, including yours. Rated.
Excellent post! Hang in there - I think more education and light on the issue will bring change (as slow as it may be, unfortunately). On a positive note, my 12 year old was dancing around the dinner table, shouting - "separation of church and state" - relative to gay marriage. And we are a pretty traditional (if liberal) married couple with 2 kids and a dog.
@tamtom-

You bring up a good point. Sometimes it's easy to forget that although we don't have marriage equality in the US, it can be even harder for non-US citizens both here and in countries around the world.
It always kills me when I hear that gay marriage threatens the sanctity of marriage, or whatever it is that people say. How does your 15 year relationship, one in which you are committed to each other, own property together, and so forth, threaten ANYTHING? Isn't that what the so-called conservatives want - stable families? Yours sounds a damn sight more stable than many.

There's just absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to marry, if you wish to. None. NONE.
(Someday you'll be able to, I'm sure of it... but not now, so it's not soon enough.)
I'm the third person in a poly marriage, where the other two are legally wed. I've been doing all our returns for 13 years, me single, them married. It sort of stings every time I sit down to do taxes.

You're absolutely right, you deserve to file jointly...and to marry of course.
Ok, I'm with ya. But, to me... I'd rather be able to insure my same-sex partner on my health care policy than anything else. But, yes, this is an issue every year - who gets to claim the house???

Here's what pissed me off yesterday and so I didn't comment.Catnlion said, "I hope you get the laws changed" and then he QUESTIONED YOU about getting them changed. WTF is HE doing to get them changed?

Christ. I am so over that attitude.

Anyway, sorry for the distraction. Great post.
Every year the IRS tells me I am single also. Because I am.
You see this from the point of view that you don't get whatever tax advantage that two married people in am identical income circumstance as you may get.
They this point of view. I decide to be single just like you decide to be gay. I want to know why married people, straight or gay, get a tax advantage that I don't.
Single people are screwed by the tax code. You want to not be screwed by becoming "married" by the tax code. I want to quit getting screwed by treating married like two individuals period.
"WTF is HE doing to get them changed?"

I'm not doing a thing. I've got to much on my plate now, and this one doesn't affect me to the point where it's worth dropping the ones that are going to hurt my business.

You have to pick your battles. Right now this one is not worth the effort.
I didn't mean th hit post yet, sorry.

This is an important item to Scott K. There are lots of people who just bitch about things and then expect others to do the work to change them.

I glad he is fighting the fight. That is the only way things get changed and he is doing it.

Is there a problem with finding out how committed and active someone is about the cause they are pushing?
Twenty years ago, I would probably have found a text like this strange. I would have asked myself: "What is his beef? We don't put gay people in prison anymore, we don't treat them with hatred and disgust (at least, the people I know don't). We treat them just like anyone else, except for the fact that they can't get married. What's the big deal?"

Today, I recognize this as another chapter in the long battle for the civil rights of minorities. I think more and more people are starting to see it that way. And that's the good news, I guess. We're prejudiced, and we're slow - but we're learning.
"I decide to be single just like you decide to be gay."

Um, Joseph.....
Um, what? Sorry I guess I worded that badly, but if you read my post
the point was: Why should married (same gender or not) be a special
tax case . Why not tax everyone on their individual earnings. I meant that allowing more people to be married just makes me more of a discriminated against minority. Maybe I don't want to marry a woman any more than the poster does. As I said. the poster wants to be treated as married. maybe I want everyone, married or not to be treated as single.
There was not to me meant any insensitivity when I said choice.
I meant choice as in wanting to be married. Not in wanting to be gay.
Side note.
I just created my forst thread/blog, whatever it is called. Do I need to do anything other than submit for it to be public. How can I tel if it is being seen by others?
I think you should be able to file jointly, and if you don't that you BOTH should take the full amount of the mortgage interest on your individual tax returns as a "non-marriage" penalty to the government. I bet things would change fast if everyone did that!
There it is! Rated. THAT's how to make this point. None of the "love" & "sadness" & "dancing" & "humanity" that reminds the voting hillbilly of San Francisco. You'll never win without him on your side (and, in California, the socially-conservative Latino voting block). This is an issue of TAX EQUALITY! Nothing else. That's how you frame it until you win. If you don't let the pundits piss you off into saying something about how you're a person (which is true), you can stick to the fact that you're a citizen (which is relevant). You do what you do anyway, 'cept at tax time, no? Get equal taxation first...THEN work on the rest.

Great post, sir.
Excellent point and I especially loved Scott's specific list of what he does...which is something everyone can do, gay or straight to support gay marriage. I have contributed to several groups and ready to roll up my sleeves with anyone in Colorado who wants to tackle this. I'm honestly appaled that this continues to be a debate, that states as "progressive" and "democratic" as California are, and a proposition like 8 gets passed, reminds me we are still very low in the evolutionary chain. While the movie MILK was an inspiration, it was depressing while I watched it. The movie described events that happened 30 years ago, and as I walked out of the theater, I was aware that once again, ignorance and prejudice was still in full force. Prop 8 had just passed. What do I think? I think it's disgusting that you Scott, me, and thousands others have to take the time and energy to get laws passed that quite frankly should just be "duh's".
I see what Joseph Cole is saying. Why is there a tax break for being married at all? That is discrimination to the single! I never thought of it that way. There should be no tax breaks for being married. Regardless of sexual orientation.

As for Scott K, I wish you well in your fight for equality. You deserve it.

Whether single or married, we all deserve that.
For all practical and romantic love reasons you are already married - should be made legal in all states. I'm hoping we are seeing a domino effect in the making...
Amen! This part is so true and burns me up! "The divorce rate shows that they've already accomplished that quite well on their own without our help. " rated and posted
Marriage is not a religious institution. It's a civil contract. The state should grant civil marriages and let religions grant "religious unions".
The word is important. It's also galling to see fellow liberals once again wanting to roll over for the religious right. Haven't you realized yet that that just makes them more aggressive, not less? Religions are lucky they're currently allowed to be part of the formation of a civil contract. Personally, I think we should take religion out of the marriage business. Europe has done it, the U.S. should too.
incandescent-

Further up the comment thread I suggested the same thing: I think the government should get out of the marriage business. They should only grant civil unions and let marriage be a religious institution w/o any legal benefits. Some churches will allow gays to get married, others will not, but that would be okay as no one is being denied rights granted to other because of it.

I like Claire's suggestion that the words should be flip-flopped and the government issue "marriage contracts" and churches bless "religious unions" as it seems a little better worded, but let's face it: the conservatives are NEVER going to give up the word marriage for the ceremonies they perform in a church. That's fine. I'm not going to argue over semantics. Just give me my government-approved relationship status with my partner and call it whatever. I'm not willing to wait another twenty years without the benefits of marriage while we stubbornly debate use of the word "marriage."
Unfortunately, dogmatic religious mindset have pushed carnality to the forefront of the same-sex marriage legality issue. Like other U.S. citizens, gays and lesbians should be afforded the benefits of legalized marriage, pro and con.