All Articles Tagged "same sex relationships"
Today same-sex couples are now recognized in over 12 states. For the first time, most Americans are in favor of gay marriage. Even as acceptance grows, disparities show up in tax returns. A new study shows that same-sex couples may pay as much as an additional 6,000 a year in taxes.
Why? Although some state governments have legalized gay marriage, the federal government doesn’t recognize them, a CNNMoney analysis observes. The federal government is restrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. This act forces same sex couples to file separately with federal tax returns sent to the IRS.
As they cannot file their federal returns jointly, same sex couples are not able to benefit from tax benefits given to heterosexual couples. In some states, same-sex couples are also obligated to fill out up to four separate returns including a mock federal return.
CNN used H&R block to give an example: say a family consists of two adults and two children. One parent earns $100,000 while the other stays home to take care of the kids. The working parent then files as “head of household” while the stay-at-home parent is the “qualifying relative.” With no other income or deductions, the family is forced to pay $15,199 to the federal government. This amount is $4,543 higher than if the couple were heterosexual. This is because the “head of household” classification doesn’t provide the same tax deductions as “married filing jointly.”
The child tax credit is $1000 for each child for a heterosexual couple, but families using the “head of household,” tag are not able to receive this full amount. Altogether in this situation, the same-sex couple stands to lose $6,043 more to the federal government.
There is one exception. Same-sex spouses in the higher tax brackets with no children can file tax returns with a “single” status. This makes their liability lower than heterosexual couples.
(New York Times) — Fourteen months after the State Senate soundly rejected legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is preparing to pursue another vote on the matter in the next few months. Mr. Cuomo, who included legalizing same-sex marriage in his campaign platform, said Wednesday that he intended to ask the Legislature to take up the matter in its current session, which ends in June. “We’ll be working very hard to pass it,” the governor, a Democrat, told reporters after delivering an encore of his budget address at Hofstra University on Long Island. His pledge was greeted warmly by gay-rights activists, who have waited with some uncertainty to see whether Mr. Cuomo, faced with a daunting battle over the budget, would make a charged social issue like legalizing same-sex marriage a priority. Legislation to do that has repeatedly passed the State Assembly, which is dominated by Democrats. But in December 2009, it failed in the State Senate, which was then also controlled by Democrats, by a vote of 38 to 24, an unexpectedly wide margin. It is not immediately obvious how the legislation would fare markedly better this year, given that the composition of the Senate, which is now controlled by Republicans, has not changed significantly since the last vote. But gay-rights advocates point to public-opinion polls that show more New Yorkers than ever support the legalization of same-sex marriage.
(Washington Post) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Friday to stop enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy while a lower court hears a challenge to the Pentagon’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is preparing to hear legal arguments in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans. The gay rights group is challenging “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and in September a federal district judge found the policy to be unconstitutional and blocked the Pentagon from enforcing the ban. The appeals court is not likely to set a hearing on the issue until mid-March, and its ruling could come anytime after that. But the Justice Department persuaded the 9th Circuit to lift the judge’s stay, prompting the Log Cabin Republicans to appeal to the Supreme Court.
(Washington Examiner) — Maryland agencies have started letting state employees with same-sex spouses enroll for health benefits. The state’s Office of Budget and Management has updated its benefits policy and asked all Maryland agencies to comply, according to agency memos sent to the state legislature’s human resources department.
(NYT) — New York State’s highest court somewhat expanded the rights of gay and lesbian parents on Tuesday in a narrow ruling that said nonbiological parents in same-sex relationships should be treated the same as biological parents.
But the high court, the Court of Appeals, declined to resolve two cases involving lesbian parents and instead sent both back to lower courts, saying that the question of whether nonbiological parents should be given full parental rights was up to the State Legislature.