Virginia bucks IRS on gay marriage

Christopher Bedford Former Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation
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Virginia tax collectors are bucking the federal IRS, requiring married same-sex couples to file their state tax returns as single individuals.

Officials made the decision after consulting with Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, The Washington Post reports, and the decision is based on the Virginia Constitution, which has banned gay marriage.

The state’s decision will complicate filing for same-sex couples, affecting their different exemptions and deductions built into the tax code to encourage marriage. The federal government will continue to allow Virginia same-sex couples to file jointly.

The decision may not stand for long, however: Democrats won the governorship and lieutenant governorship in November elections, defeating Cuccinelli and his running mate. The Democrat holds a very slight lead in the attorney general race, but Republican Mark Obenshain has asked for a recount, which will take months.

Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon faced a similar challenge, dismissing the constitutional ban with an executive order on Nov. 14, though gay couples still can’t marry in the state.

“But it could be trickier for McAuliffe than it was for Nixon,” the Post reports, as the Virginia Constitution bans “rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage” to marriages not between a man and a woman.

The Virginia amendment to the state Constitution was passed with 57 percent of the vote in 2006. It reads:

That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.

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