American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Gay Couples Suffer Unjust Burden During Tax Season Because of DOMA

Tax season is a stressful time for anyone, but it is especially so for gay and lesbian couples like Tom and Jimmy. Although they were legally married in Massachusetts seven years ago, the federal government does not recognize their marriage.

ABC News tells their story:

…As they finish up their taxes, filing a joint state return as a married couple, they will have to essentially lie to Uncle Sam about the most essential aspects of their life.

They will file two separate tax returns and “divide up” their two children — Lukas, 2, and Maya, 6 months — so that they can claim child-related exemptions, deductions, and credits.

Married same-sex couples cannot file jointly, and instead must misrepresent themselves as “single” on their federal tax forms, sacrificing the $1,000 deduction for married couple

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted by Congress in 1996, does not legally recognize their marriage and so the couples can’t take advantage of any of the tax breaks afforded other families in the United States.

“It feels really strange to be forced to lie,” said Bourdon, 36 and director of the LGBT Center at Tufts University.

“Ethically speaking, we are doing what we are supposed to do and at the same time be accurate,” he said. “It’s a Catch-22. The government forces you into it and there’s no way around it … but we are literally not recognized.”

It’s time that the federal government recognizes all legally married couples in our country. Keeping such discrimination on the books hurts our country’s families and creates an unnecessary financial burden.

Photo: Tom Bourdon, right, and his husband Jimmy are raising two children, Lukas and Maya. (Courtesy Tom Bourdon for ABC News)