Legally-Married same-sex Couples in NC ‘Refuse to Lie’ by filing state taxes jointly

Here’s the press release from the Campaign for Southern Equality:

Asheville, N.C. (April 10, 2014) – As part of the “Refuse to Lie” campaign, some same-sex couples are jointly filing their North Carolina state tax returns in protest of a directive issued by the NC Department of Revenue to file their taxes as single. The federal government recognizes same-sex marriage but North Carolina continues to ban it, resulting in legally-married couples being instructed to file their federal taxes jointly and state taxes as single.

Mary Jamis and Starr Johnson of Mocksville are among the married couples who will jointly file their state taxes this year; they are legally able to jointly file their federal taxes, which resulted in a $4,000 savings for the couple this year. Mary and Starr will mail in their NC tax return at 1 p.m. on April 14th , at the downtown Winston-Salem post office (200 Town Run Lane).
Together for 14 years, Ms. Jamis and Ms. Johnson traveled to New York last year and legally wed. “Starr and I are fortunate to live and work in a community surrounded by family and friends who acknowledge, support, and celebrate our relationship as a married couple. But the reality is that, due to Amendment One, we continue to be denied many of the basic rights and privileges that are afforded to opposite-sex married couples,” said Ms. Jamis, a small business owner in Winston-Salem.

After the 2013 Supreme Court’s ruling declaring parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the federal government – and therefore the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – began recognizing same-sex marriages. As a result, couples like Mary and Starr can jointly file their federal taxes. However, North Carolina is instructing same-sex couples to file state taxes as single, as per a 2013 directive issued by the state Department of Revenue (Directive PD-13-1 can be found at:

“This state policy is a crystal clear example of discrimination in 2014, and is a direct result of Amendment One, an unjust and immoral law,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Fifty percent of people who reside in Southern states support marriage equality. Laws like Amendment One will be struck down by the courts because they are unconstitutional. But that day can’t come quickly enough for families like Mary and Starr.”

The “Refuse to Lie” campaign was launched in 2011 by Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida. The Campaign for Southern Equality has expanded the campaign to North Carolina this tax season, adding a range of tax-based actions that LGBT couples and allies can take to express opposition to North Carolina’s discriminatory tax policies. CSE has released this video to promote the campaign: Based in Asheville, NC, CSE promotes LGBT rights across North Carolina and the South.
Married Same-sex couples across the state are taking similar stands. Kim and Nancy Willow of Buncombe County jointly filed their North Carolina taxes. Kim said, “We are married, plain and simple, and we filed our returns as such. Our tax liability as a married couple is different than that of two single people, and we accept this as part of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. We expect our state to accept its responsibility to recognize all marriages and to treat all married couples equally; to stop discriminating and to start treating its people with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Equality NC is also asking residents of North Carolina to sign a petition calling for Governor McCrory to support joint tax filings for all legally-married couples in North Carolina, whether opposite-sex or same-sex. The petition is available at:

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.