CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Same-sex couples in state capitals in North Carolina and South Carolina plan to hold Tax Day protests tomorrow, calling upon their state governments to recognize their legal marriages.
Couples will rally in Raleigh, N.C., and Columbia, S.C., to highlight the tax disparities and discrimination they face when filing taxes this year. The federal government recognizes same-sex couples and allows them to file taxes jointly, following last June’s Supreme Court decision overturning a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But, North Carolina and South Carolina do not recognize the couples. The disparate treatment has caused some couples great difficulty in filing taxes this year.
The two similar events, both named “#Married364,” will attempt to highlight that discrimination.
In Columbia, South Carolina Equality will lead the local protest.
“After the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA, the IRS required legally married same-sex couples to file as married on federal taxes but SC’s Department of Revenue ruled that these couples living in SC must lie on their state tax returns by filing as single,” Ryan Wilson, executive director of South Carolina Equality, said in a release. “Basically, in South Carolina it’s as if same-sex couples are married only 364 days a year – like being asked to take off our wedding ring on Tax Day.”
Equality North Carolina is planning the event in Raleigh. That group’s executive director, Chris Sgro, said other states have taken action to ensure equality for all tax-paying couples.
“By simply complying with federal directives as in previous years and providing a clear and uniform tax policy for all legally married couples in that state, states like Missouri and Utah, home to constitutional bans on marriage equality like Amendment One, avoided a confusing and inequitable tax policy that unfairly targets legally-marriage, same-sex couples in those states,” Sgro said in a release.
Sgro wants North Carolina to do the same. Allowing same-sex couples to file jointly at the state level will, he said, “ensure more clarity, simplicity and transparency in North Carolina tax policy, as well as avoiding unnecessary inequity and confusion, potential compliance costs and lost revenue, as well as other economic burdens to the state.”
The Raleigh event will be held tomorrow, April 15, 4:30 p.m., at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St. The Columbia event will be held tomorrow, 12:15 p.m., at Reformation Lutheran Church, 1118 Union St.
Both events will feature several speakers, including pastors, couples, attorneys and tax professionals. Both will also feature a symbolic “mass removal of rings” followed by a simultaneous renewal of vows by participating same- and opposite-sex couples in attendance.