Here’s an update about Charles Merrill’s unusual (perhaps unique) tax resistance protest in favor of legal recognition for gay marriage. (See The Picket Line, ).
First off, his trial, which had been scheduled for , has been pushed forward to . But more interestingly, well, it wouldn’t be an act of tax resistance for gay rights without a little flamboyance, would it? Here’s the latest:
Merrill, who recently suffered a stroke, said from his wheelchair, “I have buried $2 million worth of gold coins in the desert as a hedge against the economy collapsing. My partner doesn’t even know where it is at.” He continued, “If the IRS allows me to file a joint federal income tax form like any other married couple, the money is there to pay. All they have to do is dig it up. I want to pay taxes, but not treated as a second-class citizen. Gay marriage is not a state issue, as the political candidates McCain and Obama claim, any more than heterosexual marriage is. They need to rescind DOMA and make us equal citizens under federal law. As it stands now, gay married couples are taxed without full representation.”
The 74-year-old artist has been in a relationship with Kevin Boyle for 16 years.
Merrill is a cousin of the co-founder of Merrill Lynch. Prior to coming out as bisexual he was married for 23 years to Evangeline Johnson, the only daughter of Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson.
“Marriage between ‘gender neutral’ couples is legal in California, but our union is not recognized by the federal government, and we don’t get the over 1,000 federal benefits automatically extended to heterosexual couples,” Merrill said Wednesday.