Sunday, November 17, 2013

Missouri To Recognize Marriage Equality For Tax Purposes

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) announced this week that he supports marriage equality as a matter of public policy and issued an executive order that would allow legally married same-sex couples who file taxes in Missouri to do so jointly, despite the existence of a state constitutional amendment passed in 2004 which said that "to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports
Nixon said he was making the change because state tax law is linked to federal tax law. 
After the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June, the IRS ruled that legally married same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, no matter where they live. 
At a news conference in his Capitol office, Nixon told reporters he will issue an executive order today telling the Missouri Department of Revenue to accept the couples’ joint state returns if they file joint federal returns.
Think Progress explains how the legal situation for same-sex couples has changed since the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor:
When the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, it opened up the possibility for same-sex couples to file their federal tax returns jointly for the first time. In the past, such couples living in states that recognized their marriages could file jointly at the state level but had to file separately at the federal level. The situation is now switched, so any couple who legally married in one state but then moved to another that didn’t recognize their union can file jointly for federal taxes, but will still have to file separately for state taxes. Missouri will become the first exception to this. 
As I have been saying, we are running out of blue states to make advances in marriage equality and the next frontier in ending discrimination against LGBT people will be occurring in conservative red states. The only remaining blue states that do not have marriage or civil unions are Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. It's curious that these are some of the most populous states in the country and currently all of them (except Virginia) have Republican governors but have gubernatorial elections in 2014. Virginia is the location of a high profile federal marriage lawsuit, and there are active lawsuits in many of the other states as well. Blue states which are expected to have enacted marriage equality in the foreseeable future are New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada.

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