Nadine Smith

Take a Stand: Refuse to Lie

Filed By Nadine Smith | April 01, 2011 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay couples, marriage equality,, tax

In the coming days a group of activists will be launching a campaign called "Refuse To Lie."

refusetolielogo.jpgThe launch is timed to coincide with tax season, a time of year when the federal government compels married gay couples to file as single. We believe our friends and neighbors, family and co-workers need to understand the untenable position we face between the truth and the law.

Many are choosing to tell the truth and face the consequences to make this injustice visible. Whether you are ready to take this stand or not, your voice matters.\

Sign the petition. Share Your Story. Spread the Word.

Find us online:, Twitter, Facebook

An Open Letter to the Community: Refuse To Lie

I am married and this tax year my wife and I intend to indicate that fact when we file our taxes despite the federal government's demand that we lie and file as single. I took vows to love, honor, and cherish my wife for the rest of my life and denying her existence on any government document violates every one of those promises.

As long as we are quietly complicit, our friends, neighbors, family and co-workers have no idea what is being done to us in their name.

As long as we privately comply they don't understand how humiliating, dehumanizing and plain wrong it is to force legally married couples who are gay to lie and deny our spouses.

More than a year ago I posted a memo to assist gay married couples who refuse the federal government's demand that we file as single on our taxes. From the response it is clear that a number of gay couples are already filing as married.

After a great deal of discussion and soul searching, it is the path my wife and I have decided to take. The risks in taking this stand are unclear, experts disagree on the possible consequences and anyone who chooses to do this should do so thoughtfully.

But what is clear is that the idea of checking a box that erases my wife is not acceptable or tolerable to me. We need to shine a light on this publicly rather than privately anguishing over the impossible choice the government forces upon us.

I hope if you choose to do the same the resources on this website will be of help to you - if only to show you aren't alone in that decision. Not everyone will be willing to take this stand. Like coming out, we all have to factor our unique circumstances in deciding.

But everyone can sign the petition and share their story in support of this effort.

I am married in love, in deed, in commitment and under the laws of Vermont.

I will not say otherwise. I refuse to lie.


Each year the federal government demands that thousands of married couples lie.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) not only denies legally married gay couples the benefits of heterosexual marriage, but we are also told to disavow our spouses and file our taxes as "single."

The federal government must stop requiring legally married gay couples to deny the existence of our families and hide our marriages.

It is dehumanizing and it is wrong.

Across the country, legally married gay couples are taking a stand. We are refusing to lie about the fact that we are married.

The federal government's refusal to recognize our marriages is blatant discrimination and we will not play along by lying on our tax returns and pretending we are single. The government has chosen to discriminate and we choose to expose their bigotry by refusing to lie.

Taking this principled stand is not without risk and each person doing so needs to carefully consider those risks before deciding if it is a stand you are willing to take.

While tax time forces legally married gay couples to decide whether to comply or resist the government's requirement that we lie, it is not the only circumstance where we face this dilemma. We are married and our commitment is to tell the truth every time we are asked to fill out a form or respond to a question about our marital status.

This website is intended to be a resource to all who decide to refuse to lie. And it is a place for everyone who believes in marriage equality to show your support and stand with us by adding your name to this effort.

Not everyone will commit to filing as married but everyone can take a stand in solidarity.

Please sign the petiton and help send the message to the federal government that gay married couples should not be compelled to lie. Share this link of Facebook and help spread the word.
Click here for a detailed memo on filing tax returns for gay married couples.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice, which is the application of the law to an individual's specific circumstances. Please consult an attorney for legal advice specific to your particular situation.

Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

I'm sorry, but I find this more than a little hypocritical, given Nadine's outspoken support for a bigot named Obama. Why are gay people encouraged to lie about Democratic Party bigots, but not to the IRS?

John Gagon | April 2, 2011 12:37 PM

Going to do this. Got married in DC not long ago.

My husband wants to do this too. I'm the nervous one. I support it completely but I'm not sure I have the guts to go through with it.

The NY Times did a story on the "Refuse to Lie" campaign today.

Here's the link:

"But for Kate Kendell it’s about more than the money. Ms. Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said she and her wife, Sandy, who have been together for 18 years and have two children, are going to file as married this year (they married in California during the brief window in 2008 when same-sex marriage was permitted there).

“As a lawyer and a legal advocate for the L.G.B.T. community, I am often in a position to advise people to exercise great caution and to comply in most cases with the letter of the law, even when that means denying who we are,” she said. “This is my small way of saying, where we can, we are not going to play the game anymore.”

Louis Samuel | April 13, 2011 12:46 AM

As a tax attorney and former IRS agent I am
convinced that the IRS ban on the filing of joint
tax returns by legally married same-sex couples
and the DOM Act upon which it is based violates
the U.S. Constitution and is illegal.

I feel so strongly about this that I would be
very happy to represent any legally married
same-sex couple who are being audited by the
IRS because they filed jointly free of charge,
including represenation before the U.S. Tax Court.
I would also like to represent any eligible
couple who are willing to file a joint return in
a very public way, in effect challenging the IRS
to audit them. If they are audited the IRS
will lose setting a precedent that will end this
odious ban. If the IRS does not audit the return
it can then be contended that the IRS has chosen
not to enforce its ban, in effect a waiver of the

As the 2010 filing season is almost over any
legally married same-sex couple willing to file
a joint return should contact me ASAP by Email
at [email protected] or by phone at
(818) 716-6061.

Louis Samuel
Los Angeles, CA