Montana Man Refuses to Pay Bachelor Tax

This photo comes from the 23 May 1921 Batavia Daily News.

William Atzinger, of Fort Benton, Mont., refuses to pay the $3 state bachelor tax. Neither will he be married to escape the tax. But he’ll pay, he says, if spinsters are taxed also.

William Atzinger, of Fort Benton, Mont., refuses to pay the $3 state bachelor tax. Neither will he be married to escape the tax. But he’ll pay, he says, if spinsters are taxed also.

Volume 8 of The Social Hygiene Bulletin has this note:

The Tax on Bachelors

William Atzinger, aged 35, notified the assessor of Chouteau County, Montana, that he will refuse to pay the poll tax of $3 levied on bachelors by the last state legislature. In his declaration he says, “Spinsters are responsible for my not being married in their refusals of my wooing in the past.”

The report from Great Falls, Montana, further quotes the defiant bachelor as follows: “Tax the spinsters of the same age and I will gladly pay, but otherwise it is class legislation and I stand upon my rights. Furthermore I refuse to get married to escape jail and I refuse to pay a bachelor tax to escape jail.”

Early the following year, the Montana state supreme court ruled that the bachelor tax was unconstitutional (at the same time it also threw out a 21-year-old poll tax that was also imposed only on men).

See also:

1896: Mrs. Charlotte Smith proposes a “Bachelor Tax”
The danger of celibacy (1707)
Penalties for not marrying (1903)

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