There's no other way to say it: I recently fell into a vat of rage.
As my readers will know, I'm in the midst of a standard IRS audit. That, in itself, is no worry. Internal Revenue is entitled to audit our citizenry, and my return is stranger than most. I made the IRS boss laugh when I said, "If I were an IRS computer, I would kick out my return."
The thing is, my sweetheart and I are married, and we happen to be of similar genders. When people ask me if I'm married, my usual response is, "Where are we?" Because we are married in Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, but not according to the federal government to which we pay taxes.
We made a logical leap when we decided to split the mortgage interest on our returns. Married people do that. But not married people who are only married in five states and one district. Nope. We're subject to different, unfair rules.
So the bottom line is that if we both want to take advantage of what tax deductions we can, and we do, we have had to create an arms-length financial agreement. I have to "rent" office space from my spouse all because the government won't recognize the basic reality of my life... that I am a married woman.
It's heartbreaking, and it calls into question what it means to be married. I'd venture that most married people pool their money. We don't because we can't.
I'd venture that most married people make the assumption that the tax advantages for one are the tax advantages for both. We don't because we can't.
I'd also venture that most people, asked if being married means shared finances -- straight or gay -- would answer that it does. We don't because we can't.
And this week, after dealing with the IRS since the April 9, 2010 on this issue, I fell into a vat of rage. Sniping, passive-aggressive, just plain old aggressive sometimes, rage.
It isn't right. It isn't fair. It isn't anything like what our founding fathers intended, and we have no choice whatsoever. I even investigated gay legal organizations to find out if I could bring suit (so not like me!) against the IRS for discrimination. They told me I could, but that it wasn't likely to be effective and that they already had suits pending so that they might set precedent for the future, but it wouldn't help me.
What to do?
Well, first I acknowledged the rage, and then I went about making amends to those whom I'd harmed -- mostly by rudeness, and now I'm writing this post.
I've had my fair share of discrimination in this life. We all have. It doesn't feel good. It isn't right. And, for the moment, my hands are tied.
I turn it over.
I shriek. I yell. I stomp.
And I know that somehow, some day, some way, life in these United States won't be this way.