Same-Sex Couples and Supporters Protest on Tax Day
Couples remove wedding bands in protest
Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- One Midlands group is using tax day to protest what they call unfair marriage and tax laws in South Carolina.
While the IRS requires legally married same-sex couples to file as married on their federal tax returns, the South Carolina Department of Revenue says 'no' when it comes to filing state taxes. Many gay and lesbian couples in the Midlands as well as those who support their cause say that forces them to lie.
"I'm confused my state does not recognize us and even more asks me to lie on a government form or be subject to undue scrutiny," said Shauna Hannan, who is in a same sex marriage.
Removing their wedding bands and holding them up in protest today, gay and lesbian couples, held a demonstration at Reformation Lutheran Church, claiming South Carolina's marriage and tax laws are unfair.
"[This is] for the one day a year when their marriage is not recognized but also penalized in the state of South Carolina," said Ryan Wilson, executive director, SC Equality.
Dubbing the demonstration 'Married-364,' folks believe South Carolina should allow same-sex marriage and for those couples to file as married on state tax returns, not married but filing single, as it is currently. However, the Palmetto State has a ban on same-sex marriage and does not recognize the federal government's approval of such couples filing taxes as married.
"Filing single in South Carolina also costs the state money because most of these people get better refunds, so South Carolina receives less revenue due to this," said Dianne Odom, a certified public accountant.
Odom says on average, the difference in South Carolina income tax was around $269 per same-sex couple.
However, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research think tank now headed by former U.S. senator from South Carolina, Jim DeMint, released this statement in opposition:
"Everyone is in favor of marriage equality. We all want the law to treat all marriages equally. But a same-sex relationship is fundamentally different from a marriage. While respecting everyone’s civil rights, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage between a man and a woman as the ideal institution for procreative love, childbearing, and child-rearing. Recognizing that we are all created equal doesn’t challenge this historical understanding."
Seventeen states and D.C. allow same sex marriage and allow couples to reflect that on both federal and state tax returns.
Wind: 10 MPH
Humidity: 72 %