If I’ve learned anything from watching ABC Family and camping in the Adirondacks, it’s that you should never ever fuck with a mom. Ever. Now remember that when we’re talking about lesbians, we’re talking about Two Moms. That’s double Moms and therefore double Not To Be Fucked With. Right here right now I bring you some tales of people who didn’t exactly think that through.
Yesterday, in Troy, Michigan, a lesbian mother confronted Mayor Janice Daniels. You might remember Daniels as the city mayor who thought it was okay to post “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there” on her Facebook. Just to clarify, perhaps for all of our moms who are reading this, queer is only okay when I say it.
Troy community members appeared at the December 6 City Council meeting to express their general concerns (read: disgust) at Daniels’s comments. This included Amy Weber who spoke directly to Daniels alongside her wife Tina and their two daughters Logan and Aiden. Weber’s words were so heartfelt and adorable it was actually kind of hard to watch. I had to keep reminding myself to stuff all my feelings down in to a little bottle at the pit of my stomach.
We talk every day about different families and different types of people and teaching respect and kindness. That is the heart that beats in our house — is about being kind, about choosing love over everything. When I told them about your comments when they wanted to know why we were coming today, they wanted to do something for you and that was to draw you a picture.
Logan drew a picture that just said “Love,” and Aiden drew a picture of her and her sister in their house with the captions “Love” and “Only Answer.” Honestly, how could anyone argue with that? Weber went on to encourage Daniels to join the next pride parade leading the march. After the public comments finished, around 1am, Daniels told local news, “I’m very, very moved by the whole experience, and I’m going to be making some considerations certainly in the future.”
As it turns out, even if you can face your mayor and tell them their behavior is wrong, it’s much harder to do so with the IRS. Even if you’re married, the federal government makes filing taxes super complicated by basically treating same-sex couples like two random people who just happen to live in the same home and maybe adopt each other’s children (if that’s legal in their state, which hey, it may not be). But for a while there was one tax benefit. When someone adopts, they can claim the federal adoption tax credit unless, by Section 36C(d)(1)(C) they are adopting their spouse’s children. Since same-sex couples aren’t spouses according to the federal government, they remain eligible for this $13,360 tax credit. However, several lesbian couples, including Beth and Coleen Jennings have received letter saying they were ineligible for the credit and/or have had their taxes audited. The most common reasons given are that the birth mother has not relinquished parental rights or that the woman is adopting her domestic partner’s child. Neither of these reasons are listed as exceptions to the federal adoption tax credit, and by the IRS’s own account “if a “domestic partner adopts the child of his or her partner as a second parent” then “the limitation in section 36C(d)(1)(C) does not apply to adoptions by registered domestic partners because registered domestic partners are not spouses as defined by federal law.” BAM! You just got lawyered.
It’s unclear if the IRS is recognizing same-sex unions only when it is convenient for them or is merely unprepared to deal with marriages that are recognized at the state but not the federal levels. According to Beth Jennings, when she contacted the IRS, it seemed that her agent was confused as to why the credit was denied. “There is probably a place in the flow chart for the guy answering the phone, and it probably stopped or didn’t include this scenario.” According to Santa Clara Law sexuality and federal tax law expert Professor Patricia Cain, “Nobody thinks the adoption credit was created to help lesbian mothers…But they are certainly entitled to it as long as the clear meaning of the statute grants it to them.”
In other Your Partner Had a Baby news, lesbian finance minister Penny Wong just announced the birth of her baby daughter. Wong’s partner Sophie Allouache gave birth to the couples daughter, Alexandra, at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital where she weighed in at 7.1lb. Wong was partially responsible for the recent change in the Australian Labor Party’s platform with regard to same-sex marriage. Proposed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard (who does not personally support same-sex marriage) members of Labor party may now vote on same-sex marriage bills in accordance to their own values. Despite her personal views, Wong said that she had been text messaging with the Prime Minister (did I really just type that?) who was delighted to hear the news.
The news of Wong’s baby comes just as a kindergartner was rejected from an Australian Catholic elementary school for having lesbian parents. The young girl was reportedly rejected a spot at Sacred Heart Primary School in Broken Hill in New South Wales. Principal Trevor Rynne confirmed that the girl was no accepted due to her parents’ relationship, but refused to give any further comments. New South Wale Greens Member of Parliament John Kaye criticized the school’s discrimination, pointing out that public funds makes up 85% of their budget. Though Kaye called on New South Wales government to intervene, this will be unnecessary as Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta, Kevin Manning, called the school’s decision “absolutely appalling” and remarked that there was “no way in the world that we can persecute a child because of what their parents did.” Though I’m not psyched that Manning said that a child can’t be held responsible for their parent’s “sins,” I am impressed that Manning issued orders to offer the child a place at Sacred Heart. This turned out to be irrelevant because the couple declined Sacred Heart’s subsequent offer. The couple hasn’t comment on why they declined the school’s offer, but I’m guessing it has something to do with not wanting their daughter to attend a school that’s more conservative than your average Catholic bishop. See? Lesbian moms can have personal values just as rigid as the average conservative’s. It’s a staunch Don’t Fuck With My Kids value.