Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Gay Rights (page 2 of 3)

Wedding Bells for Everyone

Have you ever gone to a wedding and heard someone whisper, “I give it six months”?

Have you ever been the one doing the whispering? Be honest now.

Well, I’ll be honest, I have.

I have known couples where I didn’t give them six minutes who are still together twenty years later. And, I’ve seen couples whom I thought were perfect for each other who split up.  My mother always taught me that you don’t know what goes on in someone else’s relationship. She isn’t often right, but she is in this case.

Which brings me to the topic at hand – gay marriage. How can someone actually think that not allowing marriage for gay people is protecting straight marriage? How can anyone in this modern age propose to decide who should marry and who should not?

Isn’t that the samething as sitting in a church and passing judgment on your fellow human being’s love? And, in passing this judgement, you don’t even know the couple!

Why do Boehner, Palin and the rest of the right feel the need to “protect marriage”? Why isn’t he out to protect civil rights?

How can we decide that one couple deserves protections and special tax breaks while another couple doesn’t? I don’t think I would want that much power over another person – to determine the love of their life. It is a decision that should be left up to the individual couple.

You really want to protect marriage – how about mandatory pre-marital counseling and making it harder to get a divorce. That might “protect” marriage.

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Gay Tax InEquality

I know that I harp on this subject a lot.  The tax inequality between a gay couple and a straight married couple is unfair.  By not allowing gays to get married, you make two people pay more in taxes than a straight married couple.  How can that possibly be fair?  How can people fight against gay marriage when faced with the facts that this means an inequality in taxes?  I truly believe those people who keep insisting on lower taxes and smaller government, yet keep fighting against gay marriage are – quite possibly – the world’s biggest hypocrites.

So, last week, I went and saw my parents and I tried to explain the tax inequality to my mother – who doesn’t get it.  I’m writing this article for her.  Maybe, she’ll get it.  You can do the math, just like I did, by going to the IRS website and filling out the numbers.  It works out the same every time – the gay couple pays more.

Gay Couple Salary 401k Federal Tax
Person #1 $60,000.00 $3,000.00 $7,700.00
Person #2 $40,000.00 $2,000.00 $3,483.00
Total $100,000.00 $5,000.00 $11,183.00
Straight Couple Salary 401k Federal Tax
Person #1 $60,000.00 $3,000.00
Person #2 $40,000.00 $2,000.00 Difference
Total $100,000.00 $5,000.00 $10,644.00 $539.00

That probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but over the course of a lifetime together, that’s quite a bit of money.  Now, if the spouses are evenly split with their salary, the difference works out to the gay couple paying $6.00 more than the straight couple.  Still, not a lot of money, but the amount isn’t really the point – it could just be a penny more – the fact that gay people pay more in taxes is unfair.  Further, I don’t know about your friends, but I don’t know too many couples who are completely and equally matched in salary.  I would say that roughly 90% of the couples I know – when both members work – one spouse consistently out earns the other spouse.  It is certainly true in my household.  I earn almost twice as much as Cheryl does.

One other item regarding taxes:  when a straight couple gets married, each spouse is able to place the other on their employer provided healthcare.  They do not pay any extra on this benefit.  Unmarried, domestic partners have to pay income taxes on the portion of the premium paid for by their employer.  Does that sound fair or even intelligent?  43 million Americans are without healthcare and we make it harder for domestic partners to add their other halves to employer sponsored healthcare.  Does that make sense?  What is wrong with people?

Freedom To Marry

The National Organization for Marriage – NOM – is holding a huge fundraiser to prevent marriage equality in this great country of ours.  If you believe that marriage is between two people who are in love, please consider donating to Freedom to Marry.  I believe that this isn’t a tax deductible donation because they are a political organization, but any little bit you can give will help move our nation into the light of marriage equality.

You know, we all have a gay cousin…Wouldn’t you like to attend his or her legal marriage ceremony?  I know I would.  (But, in my family, I am the gay cousin.)

Killing Marriage

There’s an article on MSNBC that quotes a new survey about marriage.  According to the article, 4 in 10 people believe that marriage is becoming obsolete.  By my calculations, that works out to 40% of the people out there.

Ironic, isn’t it?

At a time when gay people are screaming for our rights to be married, 40% of straight people aren’t feeling the need to get married.  All of those anti-gay marriage groups keep proclaiming that you have to stop gay marriage in order to protect marriage.  I think they need to change their tune and their focus.

Instead of picking on the people who want to marry, they should start taking a good look at those people who don’t want or don’t feel the need to get married.  Maybe, they should hold Pro-marriage rallies for straight people and let them know the advantages of marriage.

And, there are plenty of advantages to be married, including inheritance rights, health care decision making and tax advantages.  Married couples – when the marriage works – offer a  stable environment for their families and friends.  Saving money on your taxes is a good thing, as well, so why wouldn’t straight people want to get married?

It makes no sense at all.

What does make sense is that the decline of the idea of marriage as an institution to which one would want to strive cannot be blamed on us gay people.

To straights every where:  Start working to save your marriages!

Taxes and More Taxes

The election is over and now it is time for the lame duck Congress to get back to work. But, even though it won’t do any good, I wanted to bring up taxes.

Everyone thinks – Warren Buffett the exception – that they pay too much in taxes. Because I have an extra taxable amount added to my normal salary this year, Cheryl and I have been paying a lot of attention to just how much we’ll owe in taxes come April 15th. By my calculations, between the two of us, we’ll owe a grand amount of $12,126, a tax rate of 13.40%. For a fun time, I thought, “Hey, what if we could file our federal income taxes jointly?” So, I used the IRS Withholding Calculator and did just that. If we were married, our tax amount would be $11,281, a tax rate. That is a tax rate of 12.47% and a total of $845 less. It makes me mad every time I think about it.

What is it that Cheryl and I receive from the federal government that is worth the extra $845? Do we have extra rights? Extra protections? Will the government take care of us when we’re old and gray in a better manner than a straight, married couple?

No, no and – I know you’re shocked – no.

We receive NOTHING for the extra dollars removed from our paychecks every single year. And, if Paul Ryan gets his way, it will only get worse. (Check out Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America and you’ll see his plan for two tax tiers.)

By denying gay couples the legal right to marry at the Federal level, the nation is over-taxing approximately 770,000 couples in this country.  Let’s make a big assumption, because I don’t have actual figures on incomes, that our over-taxed amount is what every other gay couple pays more than straight couples.  That works out to an extra $650,650,000 in the nation’s tax coffers.

Do we get a thanks for that?

No, we don’t.

Maybe, that’s the real reason why the right-wing doesn’t want us to get married.  That’s a lot of dough!

As a gay person, I purpose that in the next election, we come together to fight for our marriage rights.  We fight for equality.  We’re paying a lot of money to be considered second class citizens.

Who’s with me?

Below is a video I made last August.

Customer’s Turned Away From Bakery – for being GAY?

Just Cookies, which operates in a City run market in Indiana, turned away a gay student group that wanted to purchase rainbow cupcakes for a National Coming Out Day party.  The owner citied that the company is family owned business and that they have “two young, impressionable daughters and we thought that maybe it would be best not to do that.”

Okay, on one hand, I see a business owner turning away customers and that is his right.  If he wants to lose business because of his own morals – what’s the big deal?

On the other hand, I think if you’re in a city-run market space, then you’ve given up the right to discriminate against a customer because you don’t hold their beliefs.  Would the city tolerate a Christian business owner turning away customers because they want a Star of David on their cupcakes?

Finally, I think the business owner did more harm than good to his business.  Turning away this student group has brought him the kind of publicity that, in this economy, will do him more harm than good.  Did he really need people to know his own anti-gay beliefs?  He might have gay customers or gay-friendly customers that will no longer shop at his bakery.

For example, I love the kringle from O&H Bakery here in Racine.  I purchase it once every 13 weeks to bring to work on my treat day.  I spend around $30.00.  As far as I know, O&H Bakery is family owned and operated.  But, if they turned away a student group wanting rainbow cupcakes, I would switch to a different bakery or find something else to bring in on treat day.  Sure, they’d only lose $120.00 per year, but if other gay people did the same thing, that might add up to thousands of dollars.

I believe this business owner has made a huge mistake in order to keep to his own moral standard.

See the video here.
 

GOP – Lock up the Homosexuals

I have never been so scared in my life. I truly believe that if we let the Republicans take over in power that gay people will slowly, but surely, be locked up in jail. These far right wing people – who spread hate and fear – will gain power and change the laws that allow us our freedoms. This isn’t the fringe, people, the following quotes are actually from the party platforms of Montana and Texas.

First, Texas:

“We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”

“Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have beenordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.”

“Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.

Now, Montana:

We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.

Do those sound like people who can be reasoned with?

And, if we’re not locked up, perhaps we can be “cured” like Christine O’Donnell is insisting.

Until the Republican Party stands up and says NO to the “fringe”, I don’t think any of us can vote Republican anymore.

I support lower taxes and smaller government, but these people are a threat to my very existence.  They threaten my livelihood.  It’s one small step from outlawing homosexual acts to making it illegal to hire a homosexual.

Remember this:

They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

It can happen here – we’ve done it before.  Remember?  We locked up all of the Japanese during World War II.  They lost everything.

We can do it again.  It didn’t take much for Hitler to convince an entire country that Jewish people were evil.

It won’t take much for the O’Donnells and Ravndals of the world to pass the laws needed to round up all of us gay people – one at a time.  It’s what they want and if we elect them, it’s what they’ll get.

I think I’ll go purchase a gun, because I’ll need it in order to protect my family.

Video Re-Run – We don’t hire straight while males

In case you missed it.

The Constitution and Gay Marriage

I don’t understand how anyone can claim that gay marriage is against the Constitution.  I really do not understand.  The 14th Amendment clearly states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (emphasis mine)

Whether you like gay people or not.  Whether you agree with gay marriage or not.  The 14th Amendment clearly states that we are to all be treated equally.  The ability to marry in this country isn’t a right, it is a privilege.  Being able to file taxes together, make medical decisions for each other, inherit from each other and make legal decisions for each other is a privilege.  If all couples are not treated equally under the law, then there shouldn’t be legal marriages.  Period.

What makes my brother, Brian’s, marriage to Tara better than my marriage to Cheryl?  Why should they be allowed to file taxes together?  Or, inherit from each other?

Case in point – and something I’ve discussed with my brother – if one of my siblings proceeds our parents in death (God forbid), their heirs (i.e., wife and children) inherit a third of my parents’ estate.  However; if I proceed my parents in death (again, God forbid), Cheryl gets nothing.  Because the state refuses to acknowledge our relationship legally and morally, Cheryl is not considered an heir of my parents.

Is that fair?  Is it just?  Is it right?

No, no and no.

Do my parents consider Cheryl less of a daughter-in-law than Robyn and Tara?

Again, no.

But, legally, there’s nothing to protect her.  Granted, my parents could make a provision in their will, my brothers could split my parents’ estate with her or whatever.  That really is beside the point.  They shouldn’t have to do anything.  She should be my legal heir via a marriage license – just as Robyn and Tara are Scott and Brian’s legal heirs.

Anything less is unconstitutional.

Woman finds out about Husband’s double life

On the day after a Federal judge struck down California’s Prop 8 (which bans gay marriage), news comes out about a wife discovering that her husband had married another woman.  I wonder if that will lead to divorce or if the right wing, anti-gay groups will still claim that gay marriage is bad for straight marriages?

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