Melissa Etheridge ponders whether she’ll pay state taxes after Prop 8 passing

Melissa Etheridge and her partner, Tammy Lynn Michaels, had an elaborate commitment ceremony that was similar to a typical wedding and reception in 2003. At that time, they were not allowed to legally marry under California law. When gay marriage became legal in California on June 16, 2008, thousands of same sex couples took advantage of the opportunity for equal marriage rights. Etheridge said in early October that she would legally marry Michaels soon, but that they had four children and just needed to find the time. Now that Proposition 8 has passed, which strips same sex couples of the right to marry under California law, the time has run out for Etheridge and Michaels and so many other gay couples in the state.

Etheridge penned an essay for The Daily Beast in which asks why she should have to pay state taxes if the state refuses to recognize her and her partner as full citizens. People Magazine reports this as if she’s outright refusing to pay state taxes, but it sounds more like she’s hypothetically saying she shouldn’t have to pay taxes because she can’t get legally married:

Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

Okay, cool I don’t mean to get too personal here but there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too. Wow, come to think of it, there are quite a few of us fortunate gay folks that will be having some extra cash this year. What recession? We’re gay! I am sure there will be a little box on the tax forms now single, married, divorced, gay, check here if you are gay, yeah, that’s not so bad. Of course all of the waiters and hairdressers and UPS workers and gym teachers and such, they won’t have to pay their taxes either.

[From The Daily Beast]

Etheridge goes on to say that there is no “us” and “them” and that we’re united as one people and Obama’s future presidency gives her hope that this divisiveness will end. She also says she’ll stay in California and not go to another state or country where same sex marriage is legal, because it’s important that they continue to fight for the basic right to have their union legally recognized

As someone who used to live in Connecticut, I am so proud that my state passed a gay marriage bill. On November 12, it will become the second state to perform same sex marriages after Massachusetts. It’s very disheartening and sad for so many couples in California that they had this right taken away from them after a long and difficult battle. Slowly but surely, gay rights are gaining ground in America and maybe the court challenges to Proposition 8 will be successful. It takes time and there are setbacks, but as we have seen there are also great triumphs.

Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels are shown at a screening of Sycko on 6/26/07 and at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards on 4/18/07. Credit: WENN

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29 Responses to “Melissa Etheridge ponders whether she’ll pay state taxes after Prop 8 passing”

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  1. Syko says:

    It’s a sad thing that we can be enlightened enough to recognize the genius of Obama, and yet backward enough to outlaw love and commitment.

  2. vdantev says:

    Baby steps, people, baby steps; some people haven’t left the shadows of their cave to embrace the light of day. Enlightenment is a slow and painful process.

  3. Bros says:

    stewart had a good take on it last night.

  4. geronimo says:

    Can someone please explain how rights granted in law when same-sex marriage legislation was in force can now be taken away from those couples who married in good faith at the time? Surely they can’t? And if they can’t, and the repeal of this legislation is not retrospective, will this mean that same-sex couples who are legally married will have greater rights in law than those who now only have the option of civil partnerships? The idea that rights can be just taken away like this is too much for my brain to handle.

  5. elisha says:

    What was Stewart’s take?

    Here’s my “bottom line” from the last post on this topic:

    Bottom line is, the MAJORITY is voting to take away the rights of the MINORITY. Of course that minority group is going to lose. That’s why you don’t VOTE on minority issues, you just give them the equal rights they deserve.

  6. vdantev says:

    Geronimo raises a valid point, there should have been a year’s moratorium on further legislation on this issue, instead of this quickie knee jerk GOP-appeasement vote.

  7. elisha says:

    It’s not neccesarily the GOP who voted for Prop 8. There are many Republicans in this state who are FOR gay marriage, including our own Governor! There are also many Dems who are OPPOSED to gay marriage. Partisan attacks get us nowhere.

    As of right now, everything is up in the air. Many counties have stopped issuing marriage licenses to gay couples voluntarily, although there was no mandate to stop. No one knows if the marriages of the people who were hitched before Prop 8 will remain legal. That’s why this is going to get tied up in court.

    As of last night, CNN was still saying Prop 8 was still “too close to call.”

    The good thing is, many progressive California employers and businesses will continue to honor these marriages no matter what.

  8. Syko says:

    Am I the only person who is annoyed by the use of “Dems” to refer to Democrats? We can take the time to spell out Republican but not the shorter word. I just get this feeling of disrespect and condescension from it. This isn’t just aimed at you, Elisha, a lot of people do it.

    I think that so long as I’m considered to be a Dem, I’m going to call Republicans “Pubes”.

  9. geronimo says:

    Wow, elisha. That “many progressive California employers and businesses will continue to honor these marriages no matter what” is so beside the point! That a gay person’s rights could be down to the whim of an employer is as alarming as the idea of their rights being taken away in the first place.

    But thanks for the update.

  10. elisha says:

    Lol@ at calling Republicans “pubes”. Seriously, that’s hilarious, especially because I hate the word “pubes” to begin with.

    “Dems” is to “Democrats” as “GOP” is to Republicans. That’s how I see it anyway.

    It’s not beside the point that employers like Disney continue to honor gay marriages. It’s saying “we don’t care what the rest of the state state thinks, in our eyes our employees have the same rights.” I don’t understand why it’s beside the point that huge companies give their employees equal health benefits despite what the law says????? Sometimes I feel like you really have it out for me, Geronimo.

  11. geronimo says:

    😯 I genuinely have no recollection of ever adressing you before, elisha, and so can’t take responsibility for you’re feeling that I’m on your case. I’m not.

    This is not about what employers will and won’t do. It’s that the power to decide an employee’s legal entitlements when it’s no longer a legal requirement on the part of the employer, rests in the hands of the employer and is therefore subject to whim and individual prejudice. Kudos to those companies who intend to honour those rights but what about all those employers that don’t and won’t?

    That eg. Disney is standing up to be counted will offer no comfort at all to less fortunate employess, employed by companies that see this as a welcome cost-cutting opportunity. That’s my point.

  12. breederina says:

    This proposistion should never have been allowed on the ballot because what it’s doing is illegal. The lawsuits have begun and the questions as geronimo pointed out are many. As for some large employers still honoring gay marriage, why wouldn’t they ? The gay employees who are married were married legally so not honoring their status would be discriminatory and against the law.
    Civil rights aren’t achieved overnight. Huge gains have been made in the last decade. The campaign for No on 8 was very poorly strategized and lost by a narrow margin. The fight is far from over !

  13. aleach says:

    etheridge has the right idea! i totally agree with her! i myself am not gay, but i think that if they dont have the same rights as us, they shouldnt be required to pay taxes.
    its so ridiculous that they were denied these basic RIGHTS, but i guess it will take a little more time…so so sad.

  14. MSat says:

    Melissa raises an excellent point here. Gay people in California are expected to pay taxes and contribute their share to society but cannot enjoy the liberties of that society. How can that be justified?

  15. ann says:

    Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No
    State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  16. Feebee says:

    People were wrong about mixed race marriage, and they’ll be proved right about gay marriage. Things take time, though I thought now was time but….

    I see Melissa’s point but if you’re simply going down the taxation without representation route then you should be giving voting rights to all Working Visa holders who work here and pay taxes but have absolutely no citizenship rights, yet contribute to the US society financially and socially in a positive way.

  17. devilgirl says:

    She can ponder all she wants, however, the state will do what it has to and collect from her one way or the other. You don’t screw with the IRS or state run agencies on taxes, no matter what your beef is. Plain and simple. She won’t be showing anyone anything, except the property she loses when they put a lien on her until the debt is satisfied.

  18. Vibius says:

    I find it sad that the black community voted 2-1 against them. John Stewart had it right – “The oppressed has become the oppresse.”

    I dont understand why gay people would want to take their relationship to a level that has a 50% failure rate, and its an issue that they will not win for at least 10-30 years. If they were smart they would just push heavily for civil unions until a majority of the bigots die off. Does saying that make me an ass? Yes, but CNN and other polling groups have shown that the younger the generation the less bigots you will find.

  19. Simon Scowl says:

    It’s a sad thing that we can be enlightened enough to recognize the genius of Obama, and yet backward enough to outlaw love and commitment.

    Is part of his genius the desire to outlaw it? Because he’s against gay marriage.

  20. Syko says:

    SimonScowl, I don’t think Obama had anything to do with Proposition 8. He may not believe in gay marriage, but he has not said he’s going to try to outlaw it.

    I don’t believe in getting drunk, but I’m not taking away your right to a six pack after work. You can not like something and still tolerate it.

  21. Simon Scowl says:

    “SimonScowl, I don’t think Obama had anything to do with Proposition 8.”

    The people who voted him in did.

  22. JohnnieR says:

    The following is a 1959 CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) documentary on homosexuality, entitled:
    “A Psychiatric Problem”.

    The frightening aspect of this documentary is that there are far too many ignorant, unenlightened individuals in 2008 who, sadly, adopt the individual and collective mindset expressed in the film.

    Here’s supporting my Gay and Lesbian
    brothers and sisters the world over.

    Regards from Canada,

  23. breederina says:

    @Simon Scowl, Obama has said he’s against gay marriage. He’s also come out strongly against the Defense of Marriage Act. Making marriage legal between two consenting adults would not force any religious groups to perform weddings for gay couples. There are now religious groups who will not marry straight couples for a variety of reasons that go against their particular beliefs. I see a day when marriage licenses are issued to couples gay or straight and then the religious component of the union is left up to the couple.
    OT but does anyone else find it ironic that South Carolina had a ballot measure to lower the age of sexual consent to 14 !!! Talk about making things biblically traditional . . .

  24. Obvious says:


    Thank you.

    My dad and i have discussed this extensively since I am against Prop 8 and he was for it. HE agrees with me that they should be given all rights. Our only point of contention is he doesn’t want it called marriage. ANd I see his point-I don’t agree but I understand.

    Unforuntaely, most people just don’t want them to have any of the rights and want them pushed back into corner.

    I know someone who is gay and voted Yes on Prop 8 because of the word marriage. He wants the same rights for him and his partner but not to call it marriage.

    I say we push for the rights first, and calling it marriage second. We’d get alot more support that way, and ease our way in to it.

  25. JohnnieR says:

    I am so SICK and tired of this anti-gay marriage CRAP. Sick of it. So, the ignorant, self-absorbed Christian right and all other ignorant heteros deem us a ‘threat’ to their lives and to the institution of marriage. Give me a damn break.

    Obvious wrote: “I say we push for the rights first, and calling it marriage second. We’d get alot more support that way, and ease our way in to it.”

    NO! NO! We march along, strong and united, and we DEMAND the SAME marriage rights as heterosexual couples. We do NOT accept second best, for we are NOT second best!

    And can someone please enlighten me on why the HELL, in 2008, there is a VOTE for civil/human rights???


  26. Kristin says:

    We are NOT second class citizens, you are so correct JohnnieR. I have been working for months on the No on 8 Campaign and I am disgusted that this passed. We need to keep protesting, keep marching, keep rallying, keep doing everything we can to finally get the rights we deserve.

  27. hlhannigan says:

    stop bitching that you lost to proposition 8 Melissa just move out of California and go live in a state that has allowed it!! 🙄

  28. nuckingfuts says:

    Marriage is only between a man and a woman. I am not against or for on Prop 8 and gays/lesbians should be able to “be together” legally. But I believe that it should not be called “marriage”.

  29. CeeJay says:

    Funny how so many celebs consider marriage “just a piece of paper”….that is until they’re told they can’t have the piece of paper. Strange how respect for the institution is now suddenly in vogue? Anyone else find this a contradiction? Sorry to say, but in a lot of these celeb cases it seems to be more about what they can’t have than the fact that they respect the institution of marriage and what it stands for. Sorry, had to be said.