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Tying the tangled knot

Last November, I announced that while I supported gay marriage, I did not approve of the ways it was being carried out in Massachusetts, New York, and California. The rogue officials who authorized those marriages in New York and California have been chastised and the weddings annulled, but it's still going strong in Massachusetts.

One of the reasons I opposed the Massachusetts way was that it didn't fully take into account the legal ramifications of such a fundamental change. My thoughts at the time were on the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution, which could be used to force other states to recognize marriages they have already voted to deny.

One way that didn't occur to me at the time, though, was taxes.

Jan and Diane are two women who tied the knot last year. Now, they're doing their taxes, and they're finding them burdensome. First, they had to file individual federal returns, because the federal government doesn't recognize them as a couple. Then they had to file a joint return to Massachusetts, which does recognize them as a couple. But they also had to prepare a fourth return -- a "phantom" federal return that they filled out as a couple. They can't file it federally, but they needed it to calculate their state return.

The Boston Globe story is overflowing with sympathy and compassion for these women, and all the other couples caught in this bind. I, however, feel a mild vindictive thrill. This is exactly what you get when you decide to bypass the accepted procedures and policies for making fundamental changes in law and culture, and just bull through what you want.

Jan, Diane, suck it up. You knew -- or should have known -- that this would happen when you decided to take advantage of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's circumventing of the accepted processes and made their own laws. You made your own marital bed; don't complain if it's a bit lumpier than you would wish.


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Comments (15)

It's not much different tha... (Below threshold)

It's not much different than married couples who live out of state but work in Mass, so should I also "suck it up?"


heh. Sounds like when we m... (Below threshold)

heh. Sounds like when we moved to NC. We had to do up a phantom CA return, even though we had no CA income that year.

All of us need to just suck... (Below threshold)

All of us need to just suck it up! We made our tax law bed, we can't complain that it just gets lumpier and lumpier.

Although its really a State... (Below threshold)

Although its really a States rights vs Federal Rights type of thing.

I agree, they need to suck ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I agree, they need to suck it up, but when it comes to taxes, unless you are 16 with no dependants, there isn't anything easy about taxes.

One reason I love living in NH, I don't have to worry about those pesky income taxes.

And just wait until threeso... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

And just wait until threesomes (and moresomes) are faced with this problem. Heh!

Jay,Just wait and ... (Below threshold)
Justin B:


Just wait and see what happens when one of these couples breaks up and needs to divorce. How do they do that? How does community property work? Is the marriage legitimate enough to have to actually divorce or do they get it annulled? Do they even have to do that if it is a sham in the first place.

Taxes are just the start of the problem.

Posted by: ptg at March 14,... (Below threshold)

Posted by: ptg at March 14, 2005 03:35 PM
We made our tax law bed, we can't complain that it just gets lumpier and lumpier.

So true. Each special interest is interested in goring someone else's ox, and so the reshuffling of stuffing continues ad infinitum. Maybe a new mattress and manufacturer assemblymen are in order.

I would think that bitchin'... (Below threshold)

I would think that bitchin' and moanin' about your taxes is every Americans god-given right, Paul.

They wouldn't be having thi... (Below threshold)

They wouldn't be having this problem if they lived in a decent state. If they were in Texas where there is no gay marriage or state income tax their bed wouldn't be nearly as lumpy, now at tax time or a few years down the road when they decide to get a divorce.

I’m not against some sort o... (Below threshold)

I’m not against some sort of legal gay union at some point, but I agree that there are a bunch of legal ramifications that need to be addressed. Pensions, Medicare, Social Security, estates, liability, etc., etc.

And stuff like : How is the marriage “consummated”? What if that requires some sort of act that is illegal per some ancient statutes? What does alienation of affection mean?

And maybe the biggest question: who gets to decide who can marry whom? Is “mutual love” enough? Can two cousins marry? What about two brothers? Or a father and a son? The legal ramifications of some of these combinations are mind boggling. These things need to be carefully thought out.

jmaster your post is one of... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

jmaster your post is one of the reasons that this issue is one that should be debated and decided in state houses, not from the bench.

Also, this type of judicial fiat is what led to the various constitutional amendment decisions in various states this past election cycle. Sure it may take longer for gays to get what they want, but making your case to the people and slugging it out in state legislatures would have gotten them more in the long run.

See, one more reason to abo... (Below threshold)

See, one more reason to abolish the income tax.

Or the government's use of it for further social engineering (encouraging marriage), which is part of the incentive for gay marriage in the first place.

Flat tax -- the only way to... (Below threshold)

Flat tax -- the only way to go, for US all.

Well, in my household in NH... (Below threshold)

Well, in my household in NH, 2 people work in MA. So when they do their taxes, they have to do 3. One for Massachusetts, so they really have to suck it up, one for NH and one Federal. Maine is the same way. And for some reason, I don't think it's quite right and they shouldn't have to suck it up. Jan and Dean there should do separate taxes. Married couples can do separate taxes so there's no reason why - boy, J, you;re tough. Whatever happened to your hysterical ranting and raving?







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