Monday, June 01, 2009

The Littlest Things are the Hardest to Dodge

As part of the new responsibility that has me so busy I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. One bit was a new W-4 form.
Here, that's kind of small. Let me blow up what grabbed my gut:

Then, at the end of the form it reads:
"Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this certificate and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete."
Well, to the "best of my knowledge", I am not legally married in Utah or federally for purposes of employment or taxes. 16 years of paired dedication, love, and interdependence, raising children together, promising to love honor and cherish, forsaking all others.... They call that "single" here, if you're anatomy ain't what they like. So yeah, I know, I'm supposed to check "single", legally.

But I also know, as clearly and as certain as I know anything, this form is not "true" "correct" or "complete" with me being classified as "single". I am nothing if not a husband and a father; I'd be a stranger to myself to be single.

(Anyone know what the legal consequences of checking the "Married, but withhold at higher Single rate" might be, even though I'm not legally married in this jurisdiction? Would I still be guilty of perjury if not tax fraud?)

Even without the practical tax implications in the above, there would still be these little cuts. Those fighting against marriage for our families don't seem to see how they harm real people in practical ways, but so clearly demeaning, in the abstract, the best aspects in what they claim to be the defenders of is also baffling. Maybe if I lost a beauty pageant and someone said something mean about me on a blog, we'd get them to notice :-).

Regardless, I'm in a Catch-22 for now. To work in the US and keep from legal punishment, I am required to, myself, debase the most important role I'll ever have in life, second only to being a father. They make me, by threat of law, sign my name to a lie, that I am "single". A husband of 14 years, dedicated to the person I've been with for 16 years, the only person I've ever been with, the person I'm a parent with.... I'm forced to call that "single". I may as well sign on to the claim that I'm a walrus.

That coerced, signed dishonesty gets to me, even though, I know, it's a small thing. I was taught as a kid and it is an obsession to see my signature as a sacred guarantee of honesty, but it can't be, on this form, without legal harm. Maybe if I were a better gay rights activist I'd just mark the truth and wait for the audit or other punishment, but I've got our kids and a homemaker to take care of...

I just wish I could get everyone who pushed and voted for Utah's Amendment 3, those who hoped to annul our legal marriage with Proposition 8, all those church leaders, and those single gays who think marriage for gay couples is nothing to fight for to just get a taste of what that feels like. For a man who cares for nothing more than his family to check that "single" box, in order to be able to work for his family without threat of law... frankly, it sucks.


Kengo Biddles said...

I'd say to double-check with your tax lawyer, because according to California, you're married, but in Utah, you're not (even though I would say you are).

I think things are changing, much to the chagrin of the folks at Faux News.

But don't worry, the world is ending because those crazy Democrats in Washington are trying to put a $.0025 tax on every ounce of soda we drink! (Gasp! -- that means instead of paying 175% of the value of the soda syrup, we'll pay 177.5%!)

With the Democrats "Declaring War on American Institutions" I'm sure that none of us are going to be married soon, because, after all, isn't marriage an "American Institution?"

Guy said...

That really does suck!

Java said...

Yes. That sucks. It's the "little things" like this that are a burr in the shoe. That little burr in the shoe is HUGE when you're wearing the shoe.

Good luck, Scot.

Anonymous said...

a rose by any other name...

you have an amazing family and a ton of government forms and legislative acts cannot change that.

i'm jealous

C. L. Hanson said...

It's actually not clear what you're legally supposed to put down. I'd second the advice to consult a lawyer. You are legally married within the U.S., and it's not certain that the local laws of Utah have any bearing on federal paperwork (even if the DOMA supposedly gives the state the right to ignore the constitutional requirement of giving full faith and credit to contracts from other states).

Scot said...

After asking around, I fear my understanding was correct: the law, particularly DOMA, is not on our side on this one. I could be the guy to test it, but, again, with the kids, I'd rather not risk that unknown.

Oy, and Hannity... I should check where links go before I click on them; he'll be in my head all day now :-).

Thanks though, to all.

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