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U.S. Treasury Announces that Same-Sex Marriages Will Get Federal Tax Recognition in All States
After the Supreme Court rejected DOMA as discriminatory, it became inevitable that details and wrangling over how the federal government would tax same-sex marriages would give wiggle room for the progress of gay and lesbian rights. For instance, if the feds are to recognize same-sex marriage filings, what if the couple moves to a state where such marriages aren’t recognized? The U.S. Department of the Treasury answered this question on Thursday when it announced that members of same-sex marriages will not be taxed differently no matter what state they live in.
What matters is that they got married to begin with. The policy does not apply to domestic partners or same sex unions. But once married, they are free to live in any one of the states.
Treasure Secretary Jacob Lew, who made the ruling, said, according the msnbc, “Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve. This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”
It was therefore the principle of simplicity that moved marriage laws into the direction of progress for same-sex partners, but of course with the new federal recognition of marriages in the federal government’s eyes comes a sense of the legitimacy of such marriages in the eyes of authority, which might work towards changing the tone people associate with the topic of gay marriage –an incendiary topic for many.
“With today’s ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation’s federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “These families finally have access to crucial tax benefits and protections previously denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”
This counts as good news to Edie Windsor, the wife of the late Thea Spyer. She took her case to the Supreme Court after she was expected to pay taxes on her spouse’s estate; under DOMA she paid $363,053 in taxes, which the IRS returned to her after she won her case. Regarding the latest decision the the Treasury, she said:
“The Obama administration has taken another step toward equality today by ensuring that legally married gay couples can no longer be discriminated against for federal tax purposes. The reason I brought my case against DOMA all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court was because of a massive estate tax bill I received from the federal government after my beloved spouse, Thea Spyer, passed away. Thanks to today’s ruling at the Treasury Department, no one will have to experience the pain and indignity that I went through, ever again. I feel so proud and grateful to my country and to our president.”