Monday, May 14, 2007

Financial Dilemma

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.

Expletive-deleted that.

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 ;-).


Mr. Fob said...

Wow, that is quite the dilemma.

playasinmar said...

That's a tough [TAKE THE MONEY] one. I suppose you might be [TAKE THE MONEY] tired of being beat down by the IRS and that's what you're most angry about.

If you want to blow off some steam you can always go TP [TAKE THE MONEY] the neighbor's house.

Kengo Biddles said...

Not to belittle the dilemma, and your working on it, but Alan's suggested career choice makes me giggle, mostly because of the Monty Python Lumberjack Song. That should work to the right file. if not, look it up; I find it funny. I guess I like laughing at myself.

iwonder said...

Just reading your post made me angry. There are few things that get me as riled up as injustice.

I don't know if I would take the money or not. I probably would, but probably because I don't know what it is like to not need money!

Sean said...

herein lays the ethical dilemma of many mormons as well the line between the "letter of the law" and the "spirit of the law".

As a Canadian I very much have to say "take the money" - the socialist in me is screaming this by the way. On the other hand, the ethical side of me agrees with your arguement - You are a family, regardless of the silly classification system the government has, do not demean that union by promoting it as anything but the truth. or in the vinacular - walks like a duck, quaks like a duck, & is yellow like a duck, ergo must be a duck.

on the subject of lumberjacks and BC - i do have a bit of knowledge in that area :-) the bra chaffs when choppn down trees (see lumberjack song) - i would suggest something with no wires. LOL

Scot said...

if not, look it up; I find it funny.

I’m not offended you’d make light of this, Kengo. I’m offended that you’d imagine I’m unfamiliar with Monte Python, and the Lumberjack Song. I am a cultured individual, you know ;-).

Thank you, everyone with opinion here. I don’t know what we’ll do. Maybe we should take it and donate the money to charity? Or take it and donate it to politicians who’d help remedy such disconnects of law (in our favor :-))? But I’m surer now we’ll probably be unable to sign to being single and just let it sit unused, by us. Who knows, though, some politician may say something ridiculous and we could just do it out of spite :-).

Eh, I think, I’ll take playasinmar’s non-subliminal advice, though; I’m going to go toilet paper the next-door lab, to relieve the stress ;-). Won’t they be surprised when they get back from lunch?

Kengo Biddles said...

I’m offended that you’d imagine I’m unfamiliar with Monte Python, and the Lumberjack Song. I am a cultured individual, you know ;-).

No, it wasn't you I was suggesting it to, it was others, like Playasinmar who haven't had the joy of knowing the depth and breadth of Monty Python. ;)

playasinmar said...

Kengo, you monster, I own the entire series on DVD. Or I did until an old roomate stole them from me.

Kengo Biddles said...

Am I a cute monster like Grover or a big scary one like "It"?

playasinmar said...

How will I know if you look like a muppet or Tim Curry if you don't come to the picnic?