I hate getting these opportunities.
Our boys will be beginning kindergarten next Fall and Rob will start going to school part time. The kids aren’t going to need a fulltime homemaker forever (right? :-)) and he wants some education to prepare for the time when they’re off to a university to become a scientist (Brian) and a lumberjack (Alan).
But it turns out Rob can very likely get a grant. Not a loan, but a good deal of money for part of his education without obligation to repay. His school is strongly encouraging him to apply and he’d likely get it.
Here’s the problem: we don’t need it. The biggest reason he’s so very eligible for this grant is because he’s had no income for years as a stay-at-home dad, is not legally married to me in Utah, and has next to no assets on paper. In short, he’s eligible because we’re not legally hitched. By the way the law is here, he may as well be a homeless, single parent. But he does have access to all our money and we live quite comfortably. In short, as I outlined, here, we have one of those opportunities to take advantage of the government for misclassifying our family.
Right now, I feel angry we’re given such a choice. On one hand, we do pay more in taxes each year for not having that law behind us. Why? Because one of us isn’t supposed to have an M on our birth certificate. There are many other ways we all pay for gay couples not having this law, as I’ve listed before (1, 2, 3, and 4 ). And here’s another chance for us to get some of that back, and it’s all legal.
The unequal treatment of our home wears on me. I understand than many are going on faith and habit to explain why they aren’t doing wrong, but, to me, it should be offensive to any sense of fairness, somewhere. It doesn’t jive with the Golden Rule, and it puts a whole group of American homes into being Other, second class… and if I’m not “one of us”, why not act like it? Right now I feel like we should take all we can from our legal categorization. The people who want us classified in that way should put their money where their vote is, right? In fact, as I’ve outlined before, on average, it costs the public more to keep gay couples unwed than giving them the legal tools to take care of and be responsible for each other.
But this isn’t a new problem; for one, we could get a good deal back each year in taxes if Rob would claim to be a single parent with no income. Maybe I’ve become numb to that one. To date, we’ve never done that or taken any of it, though we know well-off gay couples who do.
See, I feel now like I want to take such money, with a show of contempt. But I’ve felt this before. I know in my head it’s not that easy; when the time comes he’ll have to mark either ‘single’ or ‘married’ on whatever form they send, and my emotions will begin to pull in line with the rest of my head. He’d have to sign to that, claiming it’s true, probably right there in our home. And we’ll not be able to do it. To take that money back and balance the scales a bit, they’d force us to first humiliate our family. The government would make us say “Yeah, you’re right. We’re single.” It’s dehumanizing.
Thinking on it more, though, we are again already forced by law to check that ‘single’ box once a year when we file my taxes. Maybe, if we’re going to be forced anyway, we should count ourselves beaten and just do it here too, where it would at least and instead profit us?
But no… That money is meant for people who are actually hurting, many of whom, I’m sure, would treat us with equity. Furthermore, marking that box to keep from breaking law is one thing; doing it for money is another. I almost now feel guilty for not marking ‘married’ on my taxes and braving what might come back from the IRS, but that could hurt the kids.
Clearly I didn’t give this enough time to settle in my mind before I began writing; I’m still heated thinking about it. That’s right. I was told someone offered us money and it pissed me off :-). I wonder what others around here would do if in this situation.
Being in this position is simply irritating to me, and I look forward to the change that seems so inevitable but too slow, nonetheless. No, I’m already feeling pretty sure we won’t take back any money here, particularly if it means we’d be again forced to say our 14 years together, and over a decade of marriage is defined as being ‘single.’ Maybe, I just want those who work hard to keep us from legal equality and think harming my family can be spun as “pro-family” to know the circumstances under which they take that disproportionate slice from our homes for themselves. I want them to know we, personally, aren’t buying it, and we’re not taking back what we could under such conditions.
Oh, and I want them to care… :-) They’d probably just laugh as they get to classify my home by their standard and they don’t have to pay for it. Maybe we will take the money ;-).