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Same-sex spouses lose big on taxes
Kenneth Weissenberg and his spouse, Brian Sheerin, pay an extra $5,000 a year in taxes because they are unable to file jointly as a married couple.
December 27th, 2011
05:24 PM ET

Same-sex spouses lose big on taxes

By Blake Ellis, @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Same-sex spouses are paying as much as $6,000 a year in extra taxes because the federal government doesn't recognize gay marriage, according to an analysis conducted for CNNMoney by tax specialists.

While marriage provides tax benefits for many heterosexual couples, same-sex families don't enjoy the same perks because they are not allowed to file their federal returns jointly.

The imbalance persists despite increasing acceptance of gay marriage as a legal right. More than 12 states now grant full or partial marriage rights to same-sex couples, and a recent Gallup poll showed - for the first time - that a majority of Americans favor gay marriage.

But not the federal government, which is constrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.

Read the full story on CNNMoney

Engage: African-American unemployment remains stubbornly high
December 27th, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Engage: African-American unemployment remains stubbornly high

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Poll: Distinct differences between blacks and whites struggling to find work - NPR

Activists cry foul on booming Ethiopian adoption business - The Atlantic

Opinion: Decisions by congress, courts hurt Native Americans in 2011 - Indian Country

Opinion: Occupy Wall Street movement is not devoid of diversity - Hyphen

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Opinion: 'Chinglish' playwright: Overcome language barriers and laugh together
David Henry Hwang's parents grew up in China, but raised their kids "100% American."
December 27th, 2011
08:46 AM ET

Opinion: 'Chinglish' playwright: Overcome language barriers and laugh together

Editor's note:  David Henry Hwang’s plays include "M. Butterfly" (1988 Tony Award, 1989 Pulitzer Prize Finalist), "Golden Child" (1998 Tony Award nomination, 1997 OBIE Award), "Yellow Face" (2008 OBIE Award, 2008 Pulitzer Prize Finalist), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), "The Dance and the Railroad" (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination), "Family Devotions" (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination) and "Bondage." "Chinglish" is a comedy about miscommunication.

By David Henry Hwang

As a kid,  China was almost as mysterious to me as to my non-Asian friends. I’m a first-generation Chinese-American baby boomer born and raised in Los Angeles. My immigrant parents chose to raise their children as 100% American. We didn’t practice Chinese customs; I never even knew the date of Chinese New Year. Because they spoke different Chinese dialects, it was easier for my parents to communicate in English, so my sisters and I grew up as typical monolingual Americans.

I thought of my ethnicity as nothing more than an interesting detail - like having red hair. Still, if I knew a particular movie or TV program was going to feature Asian characters, I would go out of my way not to watch it. I somehow knew the portrayal would be demeaning, embarrassing, and leave me feeling “icky.”

I started writing plays in college with no intention of telling Chinese or Asian-American stories. As I learned to create more from my unconscious, however, they started appearing on my page. Clearly, some part of me was extremely interested in my ethnicity, but my conscious mind hadn’t figured that out yet. Even when I turned to writing Asian-American plays, however, my emphasis remained on being American. We were tired of being perpetual foreigners; one’s forbears might have arrived in this country two or three generations ago, but people would still say to us, “Oh, you speak such good English!” FULL POST