Melissa Etheridge Says She Won’t Pay Taxes Until Same-Sex Marriage Legal

Melissa Etheridge’s pledge to stop paying California state taxes in the wake of California voters’ decision to outlaw same-sex marriages like hers struck me as a sort of heat-of-anger decision — not necessarily well thought through as far as its ramifications, but with the sort of appealing righteous logic that makes you think “damn the torpedoes” and just forge ahead.

In that way it reminded me a lot of my own decision to become a tax resister, in which refusing to pay taxes seemed to have become a moral imperative for me well before I’d figured out how I was going to do it.

Now Etheridge is on to stage two: figuring out the messy details.

Etheridge and her wife were on ’s Oprah Winfrey Show, talking about their reaction to the California election results. I didn’t see the show, but here’s an excerpt from the show’s summary on

In a recent blog posting about the passage of Proposition 8, Melissa vented her frustration by saying she would stop paying taxes. “I tell people I have until to make true on that blog,” she says. “That was [me] letting off a lot of steam. What I wanted to do was show the absurdity of a populace thinking they can take a right away or deny someone a right … and yet feel completely fine taking 100 percent of our taxes. It doesn’t make sense.”

Meanwhile, same-sex marriage tax resistance pioneer Charles Merrill was on The Ron Reagan Show . There’s some discussion of the Etheridge tax resistance pledge and general pro-same-sex-marriage talk throughout the show, but the Merrill segment itself starts about 19½ minutes in and lasts about 10 minutes.

Merrill has been resisting , and expects to finally be able to make his case in court .

And it hasn’t escaped my notice that John Bisceglia has refashioned his “Gay Tax Protest” site into one that is promoting a National Equality Tax Prote$t for . Today, I’m tracking these three tax resisters for legal recognition of same-sex marriage, but it feels like it won’t be long now before I’ll be able to write about the “movement.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the current economic mess means “boom times for barter.” Excerpts:

As the financial crisis makes cash and credit increasingly scarce, the ancient custom of bartering is booming. Cost-conscious consumers are getting creative to make every dollar count.

Some are dusting off books, DVDs, video games and other little-used items to trade for necessities or gifts. Others are exchanging services such as house painting for Web design or guitar lessons for clerical work.

Every recession triggers bartering, economists say. But the Internet has given the practice unprecedented reach. Before the Web connected strangers from all corners of the country, bartering was limited by geography and social circle.

…exchanging something you no longer want or need for something you do is appealing to many. A growing number of websites, including and, cater to the cost-conscious. There were 148,097 listings in the barter category of Craigslist in , up sharply from 83,554 , according to the classifieds website. Bartering via Craigslist’s Los Angeles service was up 72% over , with 4,009 listings in . Specialty sites such as and, are also popular.

Jessica Hardwick, founder of, started noticing an uptick in bartering in the spring. Families who were worried about the soaring price of groceries and gas started taking vacations by swapping homes with people who lived within a few hours’ drive. As the kids prepared to go back to school after their trips, they bartered PlayStation games, skis, even a bicycle for school uniforms.

Over the last few months, her Cupertino, Calif.-based site’s membership and traffic have snowballed as more people look to trade their talent and time. With 162,000 members,, which used to be populated by collectors and video-game enthusiasts, has been transformed into a bustling bazaar for everyday goods and services.

Sunni at Sunni and the Conspirators has some commentary on the Times article.

Ever wonder what happens when the IRS gets audited?

The Internal Revenue Service has serious issues with outdated financial management systems and insufficient information security that could affect the accuracy of its financial statements, according to a Government Accountability Office report released on Wednesday.

The report concluded that the agency’s internal controls were not effective and that it did not comply with legal requirements for federal financial management systems.