Massachusetts is one of the few states that recognize same-sex marriages and has since 2004. Unfortunately, the right to marry does not always bring with it other rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. One couple recently found out the difficulties that can arise in same-sex partner adoption, particularly when it comes to filing taxes.
The two Massachusetts men have been married for seven years. They own a home together and share the joys of life that are presented to them each day. However, as they filled out their tax returns and prepared them for filing, they felt as though they were forced to lie about one of the most important parts of their lives — their children.
Instead of filing a joint tax return as most married couples do, they are required by law to file separately because they are both men. One will claim their 2-year-old son and the other will claim their 6-month-old daughter in order to claim all the child-related deductions, exemptions and credits. A recent report showed that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families are not able to claim up to $6,209 in exemptions that heterosexual married couples are eligible for.
According to the United States census, there are two million children in America that are part of LGBT homes. In fact, less than 70 percent of children live with a straight married couple.
These inequalities are making it increasingly difficult for same-sex spouses to provide for their adopted children. Because the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, children end up being hurt not only because of tax returns, but also when it comes to applying for financial aid for college. Hopefully the law will catch up to cultural norms soon, so same-sex adoptive parents can have the same resources as heterosexual parents when it comes to raising their children.
Source: ABC News, “IRS Makes Gay Parents ‘Lie,’ Shortchanging 2 Million Children,” Susan Donaldson James, April 16, 2012