DOMA, Taxes & Everything In Between – Learn What You Can at GCCR Event Saturday
The Gay Community Center of Richmond will be hosting a panel discussion on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 1pm on issues for same-sex couples pertaining to marriage.
This is the second of such discussions, the first of which was held in July following the Supreme Court’s historic decision in the U.S. v. Windsor case, which stated that section three of the Defense Of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.
Kate Fletcher, a local attorney and organizer of the event, will help lead the discussion. Fletcher is a self-identified married lesbian and activist and described how since July, many same-sex couples have perhaps been rushing to marry (after the Windsor decision) without considering all of the facts about what benefits they can receive and what will be recognized in the state of Virginia.
“Information is huge.” Fletcher said about why she got behind these panel discussions to begin with. “Many couples have rushed into marriage after [the Windsor Decision] without being totally informed.”
Fletcher stressed how she believed that information was people’s right to posses and these discussions help inform people. “I am in a position where it is my duty to inform,” she said.
Fletcher also made it known that she wasn’t in the business of shaping people’s decisions, and cited that some people might not necessarily benefit in the ways that they presume, in terms of choosing to marry. For example, a basic tax bracket issue many married couples face isn’t on the forefront of the minds of some same-sex couples now seeking to get married.
“If I make $60,000 a year, and my wife or spouse makes $120,000 a year, we would pay taxes as a unit that makes 180,000 dollars a year.” Kate gave as an example.
The panel will take questions from Richmonders who want to know the details of the law. But Kate Fletcher is not the only expert who will be in attendance there will be a personal finance expert on the panel, a real estate expert and a tax expert.
All of these areas are intertwined with marriage deeply, as many know, but exactly how and why they are affected by marriage isn’t nearly as familiar. The tax expert is a new addition since the last discussion, and this makes sense as the IRS recently released information clarifying the tax benefits (and like Fletcher mentioned, risks) in lieu of the DOMA ruling and other recent developments on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Despite the “clarification,” many couples who are considering marriage, as well as married couples, should be informed further, as the issues are complex, said Fletcher.
Bill Harrison, director of GCCR, said the first discussion was a success, and he hoped to have even more in attendance this time around. He also echoed the sentiment that the purpose of this panel was to inform, and that they had received positive feedback after the first discussion.
“We installed a baby changing station after the first panel discussion, and to me that shows the progress being made. Ten, fifteen years ago there wasn’t a need for a baby changing station and now there are enough couples with children [the landscape] is changing.” he said.
“Making sure that people have access to the information they need,” Harrison said, “is the purpose of the event, and they are well equipped to provide, based on the success of the last discussion.
Check out more information about the event through the GCCR’s Website.
The panel discussion takes place tomorrow, Saturday Oct. 19 at 1:00 pm. The panel is free but attendees are asked to bring food and other pet needs to help the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation (AARF).
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