I briefly mentioned the case of Charles Merrill. He decided to stop filing his income tax returns because the federal government refused to let him and his husband file jointly — refused, in other words, to recognize their marriage for the purpose of filing taxes.
Tuesday, I went down to San Francisco’s main library branch to look into some microfilm & microfiche that had come in from interlibrary loan concerning my recent obsession with early American Quaker war tax resistance. Before and after my research, I stopped by City Hall to watch the celebrations taking place there during the first day on which gay couples could get bona fide marriage licenses in California. There was a party atmosphere on the steps, as two-by-two, couples would emerge with a certificate of marriage and everyone would stop to applaud.
The Internal Revenue Service has finally caught up with Charles Merrill and he may face three years in prison for not filing income taxes . The penalty for not filing for each year is 3 years in jail or a $25,000.00 fine.
Merrill said from his Waldorf Astoria suite in New York, “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. This inequality, thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act, was voted on by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. What a can of worms that has turned out to be… President Bush believing in and talking to an imaginary sky god and wanting to make an amendment to our Constitution that would ban two people in love from getting married. The Government has no business in checking out the gender of two people who want to be married. Presidential Candidate John McCain was living in adultery with his present wife Cindy while still married to his former wife. According to the Bible, he should have been stoned to death for adultery.”
Merrill continued, “Since our marriage is not recognized by the Federal Government, the carving over the Supreme Court of the United States is just meaningless words, the words that say, ‘Equal Justice Under The Law.’ ”
Merrill’s trial is scheduled for at the U.S. Tax Court, San Diego, California.