Just Like Me? NOT! Amodei Is Deaf, Dumb and Can’t Read!

DiscriminationSome time ago, I wrote to Rep. Mark Amodei regarding DOMA and various bills proposed by GOP members of Congress seeking to  restrict the marriage franchise.  I specifically stated that I believe that marriage is a contract of law and as such it should be available to all human beings, be they male + male, female + female or male+female couples.  I conveyed in that letter that I consider marriage a civil right.  I also told him in my letter that if he was of the belief that marriage should NOT be available to ALL couples, but instead allowed only between ONE man and ONE woman, then he should find the intestinal fortitude to introduce a bill into Congress to remove all discriminatory marriage-related tax incentives and benefits from our US Tax Code.  It is inappropriate for Congress to impose discriminatory tax codes on certain members of our society.  I also stated that if it’s only to be between ONE man and ONE woman, then they should outlaw divorce and not allow widows or widowers to marry as they’d already used up their “ONE.”

A number of bills have been proposed.  HJRes51 proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to enshrine discrimination of against an entire class of U.S. Citizens:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein),

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the `Marriage Protection Amendment’.

SEC. 2. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

The following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

`Article–

`Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.’.

Yet another bill, HR2834, proposed which marriages would be eligible for benefits:

Declares that, in determining the meaning of any Act of Congress: (1) “marriage” includes a marriage, domestic partnership, civil union, or any other similar legal union between two individuals that is recognized by a state, the District of Columbia, a territory or possession of the United States, or a federally recognized Indian tribe; and (2) “spouse” refers to either member of such a legal union. (Currently, “marriage” is defined only as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, while “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.)

Under the definitions outlined in HR2834, my late husband and I would not have been considered husband and wife, as we were not married in a “State,” the District of Columbia,  a U.S. Territory, or on Tribal grounds.  We were married in the Bahamas. That was another point I raised in my letter to Rep. Amodei.

Well, I finally got my response from Rep. Amodei’s office.  Clearly, he, and the member of his staff (sp) who drafted the response below, are incapable of comprehending that someone in his district would be “FOR” the principle of marriage equality and thought I must have erred in my assertion that marriage should NOT be restricted to just ONE man and ONE woman.  Here’s the copy of his letter (the only modification to this letter is the removal of my address from the letter before posting it here):

Amodei-DOMA

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HHS announces first guidance implementing Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo clarifying that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives.  This is the first guidance issued by HHS in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling, which held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

“HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court’s decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS programs,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Today’s announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”

“Today, Medicare is ensuring that all beneficiaries will have equal access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse lives, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.  “Prior to this, a beneficiary in a same-sex marriage enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan did not have equal access to such coverage and, as a result, could have faced time away from his or her spouse or higher costs because of the way that marriage was defined for this purpose.”

Under current law, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan are entitled to care in, among certain other skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), the SNF where their spouse resides (assuming that they have met the conditions for SNF coverage in the first place, and the SNF has agreed to the payment amounts and other terms that apply to a plan network SNF).  Seniors with Medicare Advantage previously may have faced the choice of receiving coverage in a nursing home away from their same-sex spouse, or dis-enrolling from the Medicare Advantage plan which would have meant paying more out-of-pocket for care in the same nursing home as their same-sex spouse.

Today’s guidance clarifies that this guarantee of coverage applies equally to all married couples.  The guidance specifically clarifies that this guarantee of coverage applies equally to couples who are in a legally recognized same-sex marriage, regardless of where they live.
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Same-Sex Married Couples Finally Get Some Certainty

Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes; Ruling Provides Certainty, Benefits and Protections Under Federal Tax Law for Same-Sex Married Couples

IR-2013-72, Aug. 29, 2013

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26 Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Under the ruling, same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

Legally-married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income tax return using either the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status.

Individuals who were in same-sex marriages may, but are not required to, file original or amended returns choosing to be treated as married for federal tax purposes for one or more prior tax years still open under the statute of limitations.

Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. As a result, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Some taxpayers may have special circumstances, such as signing an agreement with the IRS to keep the statute of limitations open, that permit them to file refund claims for tax years 2009 and earlier.

Additionally, employees who purchased same-sex spouse health insurance coverage from their employers on an after-tax basis may treat the amounts paid for that coverage as pre-tax and excludable from income.

How to File a Claim for Refund

Taxpayers who wish to file a refund claim for income taxes should use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Taxpayers who wish to file a refund claim for gift or estate taxes should file Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. For information on filing an amended return, see Tax Topic 308, Amended Returns, available on IRS.gov, or the Instructions to Forms 1040X and 843. Information on where to file your amended returns is available in the instructions to the form.

Future Guidance

Treasury and the IRS intend to issue streamlined procedures for employers who wish to file refund claims for payroll taxes paid on previously-taxed health insurance and fringe benefits provided to same-sex spouses. Treasury and IRS also intend to issue further guidance on cafeteria plans and on how qualified retirement plans and other tax-favored arrangements should treat same-sex spouses for periods before the effective date of this Revenue Ruling.

Other agencies may provide guidance on other federal programs that they administer that are affected by the Code.

Revenue Ruling 2013-17, along with updated Frequently Asked Questions for same-sex couples and updated FAQs for registered domestic partners and individuals in civil unions, are available today on IRS.gov. See also Publication 555, Community Property.

Treasury and the IRS will begin applying the terms of Revenue Ruling 2013-17 on Sept. 16, 2013, but taxpayers who wish to rely on the terms of the Revenue Ruling for earlier periods may choose to do so, as long as the statute of limitations for the earlier period has not expired.

Congressional Republi-Nazis Propose Marriage Unequality

RepubliNaziCurrently, there are twenty-nine Republi-Nazis in the US House who have proposed that only certain individuals, one man and one woman, are worthy of the pursuit of happiness using a contract of marriage:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the `Marriage Protection Amendment’.

SEC. 2. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

The following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

`Article–

`Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.’.

  • Rep Tim Huelskamp [R-KS]
  • Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6]
  • Rep Bridenstine, Jim [OK-1]
  • Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5]
  • Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10]
  • Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3]
  • Rep Fleming, John [LA-4]
  • Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-8]
  • Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1]
  • Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4]
  • Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1]
  • Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14]
  • Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3]
  • Rep Jones Jr., Walter B. [NC-3]
  • Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4]
  • Rep Lankford, James [OK-5]
  • Rep Meadows, Mark [NC-11]
  • Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19]
  • Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4]
  • Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2]
  • Rep Pittenger, Robert [NC-9]
  • Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16]
  • Rep Schweikert, David [AZ-6]
  • Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9]
  • Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4]
  • Rep Stockman, Steve [TX-36]
  • Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7]
  • Rep Westmoreland, Lynn  [GA-3]
  • Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10]

Now, you may think I’m being a bit harsh by calling these 29, angry white men, “Republi-Nazis,” but their variant of the original Nazism is real and totally in opposition to the principles our founding fathers espoused.  Nazism is an ideology that claimed the “Aryan Master Race” was superior to all other races.  The Republi-Nazis believe that we do not live in a Democracy, but instead live in some fantasy Theocracy—that our founding fathers, in their infinite wisdom, created our constitution based on the “Christian” bible  (whatever that is, because their interpretations of what they call the “bible” tend to differ vastly from mine).  Further, they believe that only heterosexual men and women are the chosen few who deserve a “pursuit of happiness” and who deserve abundant tax breaks at the expense of all others with which to pursue their every whim.  They believe that all “Christian(?)” heterosexual members of our society should cooperate for national unity against the heinous hoards who would be the demise of our society.  Somehow, I do not believe Jesus would make or endorse  such an argument.  And frankly, since GOD created all of mankind, not just the heterosexual members of mankind, I do not believe GOD would be making or endorsing that argument either.  And please note, that I’m not even scratching the surface yet—and that I’m not going to stray into the area of their feelings of superiority over women and their needs to regulate the uses of various women’s body parts in this piece.

It is time to take a stand and call this errant behavior what it is.  Whether you call it a variation of Nazism or Fascism, it’s NOT Americanism and it needs to stop!  Take the time to write your Congressmen and let them know what you think and where you stand on this issue.  If you’re in Nevada, you can go to the LINKS page (above in the header) to find links to email or to tweet your opposition to Nevada’s members of Congress.  You can also find this bill on POPVOX where you can OPPOSE and send an email to your designated members of Congress (based on your address).

Here’s a copy of my email to Rep. Mark Amodei using POPVOX:

I oppose H.J.Res. 51 which proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the United States declaring that marriage can be only between one man and one woman. Really, one man can only be married to one woman? If marriage is between only one man and one woman, does that outlaw divorce?

We don’t live in a “theocracy” as too many of the currently elected members of the REPUBLIBAN believe. It is NEVER acceptable to treat some members of our society in a preferential manner, while essentially levying a penalty tax on others. If you believe “marriage” is only a religious thing for the preferential few, then why does a state have to issue a license? Why does the couple have to go to court to obtain a dissolutionment of that marriage? Because, it’s NOT just a religious thing.

— It’s a LEGAL thing. That’s why they call it a CONTRACT of marriage.

— It’s a TAX thing. Married people benefit from TAX DEDUCTIONS.

It is NOT appropriate for members of our U.S. government to act like Hitler’s Nazis, branding certain individuals as acceptable and therefore, endowed with certain rights, and declare others as unacceptable and not entitled to the same pursuits as the chosen few.

Advocacy: Please Urge Your NV Assemblyperson to Support Marriage Equality

We need you to act right now and send a message to your Nevada Assemblyperson urging them to support legislation that would begin the multi-year process to repeal the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and allow all couples in Nevada the right to marry the person they love.

Support for same-sex marriage has grown since the unfortunate “policy” ban was passed in 2002 and thus enshrined in our state’s Constitution. More than a decade has passed since that infelicitous event.  It’s now time to fix that and for our state lawmakers to honor love, commitment, and all families in Nevada.

In Nevada,”marriage equality” is not just a “social” issue, it’s also an economic issue.  As the “Marriage Capital of the World”  — our economy benefits from extensive tourism dollars of couples traveling to our state to share their vows and celebrate their union.  Economically, we should never enshrine social policy in NV’s Constitution that conflicts with economic policy and demotes our status to “Nevada—the Marriage Capital for straight, heterosexual couples only.”  “Policy” should be handled in the purview of the Legislature such that it can be addressed effectively as mores within our society change over time.

In the next couple of days, the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections is set to consider legislation that would begin the multi-year process to repeal the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and allow all couples in not just in Nevada, but from across our nation and from all over the world, to marry in our State. Last month, the state senate took the first step in making marriage equality a reality by passing this important piece of legislation.

For full marriage equality in Nevada, the legislature will need to pass the same bill in 2015, placing it on the 2016 election ballot where Nevada voters will have the opportunity to honor the thousands of loving, committed couples in the state. Your voice is important and could help make the difference.

As I said, the state Senate has already approved this legislation. Your voice could help make the difference in moving it through the Assembly. Please send a message to your State Assemblyperson TODAY urging him/her to pass the bill.

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