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Mary and Starr stand up to Amendment One

Mary Jamis and Starr Johnson are among the married same-sex couples in North Carolina who will jointly file their state taxes this year as part of the “Refuse to Lie” campaign; they are able to jointly file their federal taxes, which resulted in a $4,000 savings for the couple this year.

Mary said, “Starr and I are fortunate to live and work in a community surrounded by family and friends who acknowledge, support, and celebrate our relationship as a married couple. But the reality is that, due to Amendment One, we continue to be denied many of the basic rights and privileges that are afforded to opposite-sex married couples.”

Mary and Starr were married in New York last year.

As part of the “Refuse to Lie” campaign, legally married same-sex couples in North Carolina are jointly filing their state tax returns in North Carolina, despite a directive by the NC Department of Revenue for them to file their taxes as single. The federal government recognizes same-sex marriage but North Carolina continues to ban it.

Equality NC has a petition up, asking Governor McCrory to support a consistent tax policy:  joint tax filings for all legally-married couples living in North Carolina.

The Refuse to Lie Campaign was launched in 2011 by Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida. The Campaign for Southern Equality has expanded the campaign to North Carolina this tax season, adding a range of tax-based actions that LGBT couples and allies can take to express opposition to North Carolina’s tax policies.

Act Now: SB 2681 on verge of passing in Mississippi

April 1 Update: A conference committee has released an updated version of SB 2681 that closely resembles the original version and could license discrimination in Mississippi. The bill could go to a vote in the House and Senate as early as today so it is critical to speak out against it. This bill is similar to legislation in Arizona that has been dubbed as a “Turn Away the Gays” bill.

Read the latest coverage from the Deep South Progressive: http://bit.ly/1jw7ZPu

Sample Tweet: Mississippi ‘License to Discriminate’ bill #sb2681 is alive. Call to oppose this anti-#LGBT bill TODAY: http://bit.ly/1kotbW8

ACTIONS TO OPPOSE SB 2681:

1) Call and email your members of the Mississippi House of Representatives and Mississippi Senate TODAY:

Call your rep. directly to express opposition. Find your representative, their phone number and email at: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ …

Call script: “I’m a resident of your district and oppose SB 2681, which is bad for business in Mississippi and hurts my community. Please oppose this bill.”

The HRC has a handy email tool for Mississippi residents to contact state House members via email as well: https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1825

2)  Post this graphic and this link - http://bit.ly/1gD2jj3 - on your Facebook page and stand against SB 2681.

 

3) Actions for those outside Mississippi: 

For non-Mississippi residents this HRC action alert tool has been set-up to oppose SB 2681: https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1829

UPDATE on SB 2681 “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”

Background: The Mississippi state Senate has sent SB 2681 to a conference committee with the state House. This bill is similar to legislation in Arizona that has been dubbed as a “Turn Away the Gays” bill.

“Negotiators face a Monday [March 31st] deadline to file a final version of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 2681). If they don’t meet that deadline, the bill will die,” according to reporting by the Associated Press.

ACTIONS TO OPPOSE SB 2681:

1) Call and email members of the conference committee TODAY:

The Mississippi Capitol Switchboard number is (601) 359-3770. Call and voice your opposition to SB 2681. Be ready to ask to speak with members of the conference committee:

Senators: Polk, Gandy, and Fillingane

Representatives: Gipson, Hood, and Monsour

Call script: “SB 2681 is bad for business in Mississippi and hurts my community. Please oppose this bill.”

2) Please share this graphic on Facebook to alert folks that SB 2681 is still alive!

Jessica and Amber

On Tuesday, March 25th in Jackson, Mississippi same-sex couples will apply for marriage licenses as part of the WE DO Campaign. Jessica and Amber are one of the those couples that will bravely walk into the Hinds County Courthouse and ask to be treated as full and equal citizens.

You can read about why they are taking this action as told by Jessica:

There are many things in this world that separate, divide, and hurt. Here in Mississippi, we see all kinds of pain and suffering on a daily basis. Poverty, illness, violence, helplessness… But there is one hope to which we can all cling, one lifeline that keeps us together, keeps us strong enough to make it through– Love. The power of Love is and has always been the common thread that holds the tapestry of humanity together, the only force strong enough to withstand the ferocity of fear. My sweetheart and I will celebrate seven years as a couple this July, and we have been truly blessed to experience this Love that weathers storms and grows gardens. That is why, as we have already done in the eyes of God, we wish to marry, this time under the law, with the same rights of marriage that other Mississippi married couples are provided. We’d like to know that when one of us has an emergency, there will be no questions about the other being by her side. We want to be confident that if ever one of us is unable to make decisions, no questions will arise about who else to turn to. And when asked if we are married, we pray for the day there will be no awkward hesitation, but a very firm and celebratory “Yes!” to anyone who asks! People who . . . → Read More: Jessica and Amber

NC couples “Refuse to Lie” on their state taxes

As part of the “Refuse to Lie” campaign, legally married same-sex couples in North Carolina are jointly filing their state tax returns in North Carolina, despite a directive by the NC Department of Revenue for them to file their taxes as single. The federal government recognizes same-sex marriage but North Carolina continues to ban it.

Kim and Nancy Willow of Buncombe County, NC sent along a short post about why they are participating:

Kim and Nancy Willow 

Fourteen years ago, we realized that we could no longer live a lie. After hiding the truth of our lives and our love for too long, we knew we wanted and needed to share our true selves with the world. Looking back, it is easy to see that living in the closet had a negative impact on every aspect of our lives. Fourteen years later, we’re not going back.

On April 4, 2008 in Niagara Falls, Canada, we were legally married and this year, we’re coming out of the tax closet. The federal government recognizes our marriage, but the state of North Carolina is asking us to lie on our tax returns and file as single (lie #1). In order to do that, we would each have to create a false federal single return to populate the North Carolina state return (lie #2), then sign that return stating it is accurate (lie #3). We don’t need more lies in our lives or in this world.

We are married, plain and simple, and we filed our returns as such. Our tax liability as a married couple is different than that of two single people, and we accept this as part of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. We expect . . . → Read More: NC couples “Refuse to Lie” on their state taxes