WASHINGTON - In advance of April 15 - "Tax Day" - the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, launched today its national "7 Days to a Better Financial You" educational campaign. The campaign highlights the unique legal inequalities and hurdles facing the GLBT community with regard to financial, tax and estate planning issues. Federal law treats same-sex couples as strangers, thereby denying them the 1,138 federal rights, benefits and protections available to different-sex married couples. Some states provide protections, recognizing same-sex couples for tax purposes while federal law treats them as individual filers. An act as simple as moving across state lines can create further complications. HRC is joining with our Congressional allies to highlight critical legislative initiatives that we at HRC are calling "Family Matters." Family Matters is a comprehensive pro-family, pro-equality legislative package that seeks to secure equal treatment under federal law for GLBT individuals, same-sex couples, and their children.
"On April 15th, millions of Americans will file their taxes with the federal government, but most will not bear the same costs and burdens that GLBT Americans face because federal law does not treat them and their families equally," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Today we are launching a national campaign to educate same-sex couples and all GLBT Americans about the tools and resources available to help them understand their unique complications with tax laws and foster good financial decision-making. Until the federal government treats us as equal citizens under the law, it is critical that our community knows and understands the financial challenges we must overcome."
Both the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples, and discriminatory state laws, deny gay and lesbian couples access to 1,138 federal benefits and protections available to married couples. This can mean that they can't take time off to care for a loved one without risking losing their job, they can't provide survivor benefits to their partner or children despite paying into Social Security for a lifetime, they can't get equal pay for equal contribution as a federal employee or veteran, and they can't include their spouse or children on their employer-based health plan without facing significant tax penalties. According to the Williams Institute, the average employee who receives partner benefits pays an additional $771 per year out of pocket in federal taxes based on the value of those benefits.
In Congress, statehouses, corporate board rooms, emergency rooms and communities across the country, the Human Rights Campaign is knocking down the barriers to equality - one by one. Due in part to the efforts of HRC's Workplace Project, over 50% of the Fortune 500 offer benefits to same-sex partners, up from just a handful in 2000. After years of on-the-ground organizing by HRC and other national, state and local organizations, ten states plus the District of Columbia have civil unions, domestic partnerships, or marriage, and more are considering relationship protections. Furthermore, HRC is currently lobbying on the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act, the Domestic Partnership tax bill and the Domestic Partnership Benefit and Obligations Act or DPBO.
For additional online resources and daily updates visit the HRC blog, http://www.hrcbackstory.org/. For a comprehensive article recently published in the Journal of Financial Planning by financial planners and columnists Joe Kapp and Nick Burkholder, visit: http://www.fpanet.org/journal/articles/2008-Issues/jfp0308-art7.cfm.
"7 Days to a Better Financial You" Key Highlights:
Monday, April 7:
Tuesday, April 8: Virtual Town Hall for Employers and GLBT Employees: Making Your Benefits Work for You
Wednesday, April 9:
Thursday, April 10:
Tuesday, April 15:
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.