More Good News for Gay Marriage

 

In June, supporters of same-sex marriage in West Hollywood, Calif., celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Obama administration is bringing the power of the federal government to bear in supporting gay marriage. First, the attorney general’s office refused to enforce DOMA, then they repealed DADT in the military, and now the IRS will afford marital tax benefits to all legally married couples, regardless of what state they reside in:

WASHINGTON — All same-sex couples who are legally married will be recognized as such for federal tax purposes, even if the state where they live does not recognize their union, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

It is the broadest federal rule change to come out of the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and a sign of how quickly the government is moving to treat gay couples in the same way that it does straight couples.

The June decision found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits, but left open the question of how Washington would actually administer them. The Treasury Department answered some of those questions on Thursday. As of the 2013 tax year, same-sex spouses who are legally married will not be able to file federal tax returns as if either were single. Instead, they must file together as “married filing jointly” or individually as “married filing separately.”

Their address or the location of their wedding does not matter, as long as the marriage is legal: a same-sex couple who marry in Albany, N.Y., and move to Alabama are treated the same as a same-sex couple who marry and live in Massachusetts.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax-filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said. “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.”