The IRS interpretation of DOMA decision ensures federal tax benefits and protections for all married same-sex couples
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
announced a ruling that will ensure all legally-married same-sex couples, regardless of where they live, will be recognized for federal tax purposes. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples.
“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.”
Under this new ruling from the Treasury Department and the IRS, same-sex couples who are legally married will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income, estate and gift taxes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple resides in a state or jurisdiction that recognizes their marriage.
Prior to today’s ruling, lawfully married same-sex couples were forced to declare themselves “unmarried” to file their federal income tax returns. Furthermore, transfers of property, gifts and inheritances between same-sex spouses were taxed, unlike those between opposite-sex spouses – as was the case in Edie Windsor’s successful challenge to DOMA before the Supreme Court. Even the health insurance benefits provided for a same-sex spouse were treated as taxable income, costing the average same-sex couple over $1,000 a year in additional taxes.
Recently other federal agencies have issued similar rulings or guidance regarding the invalidation of Section 3 of DOMA, including the Office of Personnel Management, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Homeland Security. Other agencies are expected to announce decisions on how benefits will flow to same-sex couples.
Since the Supreme Court announced it would take up the challenge to DOMA in Windsor v. United States
, HRC has been urging the White House and agencies across the government to make any necessary changes to policies, procedures and regulations to ensure the broadest implementation of a favorable decision on DOMA. Earlier this month, HRC sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the IRS urging them to recognize all lawfully-married same-sex couples for their purposes.
“We urge all federal agencies to the greatest degree possible to join the Treasury Department and the IRS in recognizing the legal marriages of all same-sex couples,” continued Griffin. “No family should have to worry about losing important federal rights and benefits, simply because they live in a state that doesn’t recognize them as equal under the law.”
For more information on how federal taxes impact married couples visit http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/Post-DOMA_FSS_Federal-Taxes_v3.pdf
ote that this document will be updated to reflect today’s ruling.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton
signed a law legalizing marriage for same-sex couples today. Dayton signed the bill shortly after its passage by the state legislature.
Minnesota is now the twelfth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to recognize marriage for same-sex couples. It joins Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington, New York, Iowa, Rhode Island, and as of last week, Delaware.
"It has been 40 years since the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
filed Baker v. Nelson
, the first marriage equality case in the country," said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota. "We are pleased that after 40 years of fighting for the freedom to marry, equality has finally been realized for all Minnesotans. We are glad to join the 11 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing marriage for all loving committed couples."
"We congratulate the people of Minnesota and all those who worked so hard to allow loving and committed couples the freedom to marry," said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "It is thrilling to see Minnesota become the third state in just two weeks to grant same-sex couples the recognition and protection that only marriage can provide."
This statement is available at:aclu.org/lgbt-rights/minnesota-governor-signs-law-legalizing-marriage-same-sex-couples
Source: Press release from Aclu Media
by Gay Liberation Network, Gay Rights Rallies in 160+ Cities, 50 states Before Supreme Court Deliberations Capitalizing on recent polls showing burgeoning popular support for equal marriage rights, this week gay activists will hold vigils, marches and rallies in all fifty states and over 160 cities on the eve of the Supreme Courts oral arguments about two pivotal gay rights cases.
In Chicago the rally and march, sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) and The Civil Rights Agenda, will begin at 5:30 PM, Monday, March 25 at Federal Plaza at Adams and Dearborn Streets,
followed by a march to Pioneer Court by the Tribune Building.
On March 26 and 27 the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in two cases about the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. These cases – which challenge the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
and California’s Proposition 8 – are fundamentally about whether LGBT Americans can enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.
Even if Illinois legalizes same-sex marriage, more than 1100 federal rights and responsibilities associated with marriage would still be denied gay couples here, according to a General Accounting Office study. The primary legislative barrier to this equality is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by President Clinton
, which denies legal equality at the federal level even in states which have legalized same sex marriage, and allows states which do not recognize same-sex marriage to deny recognition of such marriages made in states that do.
To many, DOMA and Proposition 8 blatantly violate core constitutional principles that even conservative, "Originalist" Supreme Court justices, if they're being intellectually honest, should strike down.
The "full faith and credit clause" of Article V, Section 1, for example, says that states are required to respect the "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state," and should force a rejection, at least in part, of DOMA. If the Court is being honest, the "equal protection clause" of the Constitution's 14th Amendment, requiring that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," should force a rejection of Proposition 8 and all other state-wide anti-gay laws.
"The reality is that the Court, for all its pretensions and rationalizations of deciding cases based purely upon constitutional principles and precedent, is a completely political body," said GLN co-founder Andy Thayer. "In the 1990s, all branches of government leaned on anti-gay public opinion to thwart core constitutional principles that should have protected LGBT people. Today, with a massive swing in public opinion in favor of equality, our aim through these marches and rallies is to force the Court to live up to its Constitutional obligations that it heretofore has botched."
"We have to send a signal to the Court that if it rejects or muddles on equal rights, that it will pay an immense political price, that it will discredit itself as an institution, and that ordinary citizens will reject its legitimacy as an unelected, unaccountable body which has no place in a true democracy. Increasingly, institutions that oppose legal equality for LGBT people are seen as out of step with modern society, if not downright bigoted. Our challenge to the Court is that it can either join such relics, or it can keep in touch with modern society."
For more information visit LGBTliberation@aol.com
SWAN Applauds Bill Providing Equal Benefits for Same-Sex Military SpousesCritical Legislation Introduced in Honor of Deceased Service Woman, Advocate for LGBT Troops by Senator Gillibrand, Senator Shaheen
(New York, NY) – On Friday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
introduced legislation to make additional benefits available to all military spouses and families regardless of sexual orientation. The Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2013
is named after New Hampshire National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan
, who passed away last week after battling breast cancer. Karen, Morgan
’s wife, is not eligible for survivor benefits because of the military’s policy on same-sex marriages.
“Our hearts are broken over the loss of Officer Charlie Morgan, and the added suffering her family now must endure because of unjust military policy,” said Anu Bhagwati,
Executive Director of Service Women’s Action Network(SWAN)
and a former Marine Corps Captain. “It is appalling that men and women in uniform are not afforded equal benefits by U.S. military because of their sexual orientation. We applaud Senator Shaheen and Senator Gillibrand for their swift work to bring justice to LGBT military families – this critical legislation is long overdue.”
According to advocacy organization OutServe-SLDN
, over 100 benefits granted to service members, veterans and their families are contingent upon marital status. The Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2013 would extend some of these key benefits, including access to the military health care program (Tricare); funding to allow a service member’s spouse to accompany them when he or she is assigned to a new duty station, and surviving compensation for the spouse of a deceased service member. After Charlie’s diagnosis in 2008, she and her wife spoke repeatedly about how these practices against same-sex couples would devastate their family if Charlie died.
“The story of Charlie Morgan offers a powerful example of why we need immediate action to end LGBT discrimination in our military,” said Senator Shaheen. “Charlie served on the front lines for our country, but because of her sexual orientation her family is wrongfully being denied many of the same benefits given to those who stood beside her.”
“This legislation is an important step forward in achieving full equality for all of our men and women serving and fighting for our nation,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Same-sex partners of military servicemembers should not be denied essential benefits because of who they are.”
Despite Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
’s recent announcement of an extension of benefits to LGBT military families, much more must be done to ensure equal treatment for all service members. The Charlie Morgan Act would require the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to honor any marriage that has been recognized by a state and provide a number of key benefits to the spouses of all service members. By allowing for an individual to be considered a “spouse” if their marriage is valid in their state, this bill ensures that same-sex military families receive many of the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
SWAN urges Congress to pass the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2013 immediately for the families of brave LGBT service members and veterans who have served their country. SWAN staff is available for interview and comment.
SWAN is a national nonpartisan civil rights organization founded and led by women veterans. SWAN’s mission is to transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and the freedom to serve in uniform without discrimination, harassment or assault; and to reform veterans’ services to ensure high quality health care and benefits for women veterans and their families. For more information visit www.servicewomen.org
Washington, D.C. — In anticipation of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
’s announcement of the Pentagon’s extension of some military benefits to same-sex couples, the Center for American Progress
released “Checklist of Benefits Secretary Panetta Can and Should Extend to Same-Sex Military Spouses
,” which provides a full accounting of the benefits service members and their families are denied, despite the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” more than a year ago
Benefits and support programs are critical to service members—in fact, they make up 70 percent of a service member’s overall compensation. Some of the regulations conferring benefits to service members which do not apply to same-sex couples include:
- Joint duty assignments, whereby the Pentagon generally allows two service members married to one another to be assigned to the same duty station, assure dual-military families they will not be forced to separate as a result of the military’s need to routinely relocate personnel. In 2011 U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Luz Bautista received transfer orders to report to duty in Illinois—while pregnant—but her spouse was required to remain at her duty station in San Diego with their child. Luz Bautista, her spouse, and their two children expect to be separated for three years.
- Military family housing is available to service members supporting dependents, but while an opposite-sex spouse is considered a dependent under Pentagon regulation, a same-sex spouse is not. A military member in a same-sex marriage without children would be restricted to quarters designed for unmarried service members.
- Exemption from hostile-fire areas exist for dual-military families, so that if one spouse is killed, becomes 100 percent disabled, or goes missing in action, the other spouse may be exempt from also serving in a hostile-fire area. One such purpose of this policy would be to prevent a situation where a child loses both parents in the line of duty. The Pentagon does not currently extend this privilege to same-sex dual-military spouses or, subsequently, offer that same protection to their children.
- Hospital visitation rights for a same-sex spouse are required by federal law of hospitals which participate in Medicare. Current Pentagon regulations, however, allow military health treatment facilities that do not participate in Medicare to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Family programs are offered by the military, including deployment support, marriage and family counseling, and relocation assistance. Each branch of service is free to determine its own standards of eligibility for these programs, which leaves room for discrimination against same-sex spouses. Our military members continue to serve their country with honor and integrity, and it is our duty to ensure that their families receive the support and benefits they need and have earned.
In a letter to Secretary Panetta
in 2011, OutServe-SLDN
, an organization representing actively serving gay military personnel, provided a comprehensive list of benefits that could be extended to military members in same-sex marriages independent of Supreme Court
or congressionalproceedings on the Defense of Marriage Act. The Pentagon should immediately revise its rules to ensure equitable access to military benefits for gay service members and their families to the extent possible under the law. Anything less than complete access to these benefits means that gay service members and their families will continue to face harmful and unnecessary discrimination by the U.S. military.
As outgoing Defense Secretary Panetta prepares to step down from his post, he can and must extend benefits to same-sex military spouses to the fullest extent possible under the law. Doing so would be a final demonstration of his commitment to making the military a more equitable institution for all Americans, gay or straight, man or woman. And though equality for gay military members and their families cannot be achieved until the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed or ruled unconstitutional, the Pentagon can immediately send a clear message to Congress and the Supreme Court that there is no room for discrimination in the ranks.
Read the full column here
On Wednesday, January 30, 2013 All Out
delivered more than 200,000 All Out petition signatures to members of parliament ahead of a vote for a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to marry in France.
“More than 200,000 French All Out members have signed a petition urging their MPs to vote for a bill that would give gays and lesbians the right to marry,” said Andre Banks,
Executive Director and Co-founder of All Out. “All Out members understand there is nothing comparable to marriage. If loving gay and lesbian couples want to show their commitment to one another, they should be able to marry no matter where they live in the world.”
“The outpouring for support for marriage for gays and lesbians has been incredible,” said Andre said. “I am optimistic MPs will see what I have seen. This has been All Out’s fastest growing petition in France ever, proving French people are more than ready to see their gay and lesbian friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, should have the right to celebrate their love and commitment to one another through marriage.”
If this bill is passed, France will become the twelve country to allow gays and lesbians to marry nationwide, adding to the growing global movement towards full relationship recognition for gays and lesbians.
“Every country that passes marriage for gays and lesbians has an impact on the global movement towards equality,” said Brian Ellner, a leading U.S. marriage advocate who is advising All Out on the French marriage campaign. “The significance of France making a move towards equality should not be underestimated. Given France’s influence around the world, a marriage equality win there will have far reaching effects worldwide.”
“Equality for gays and lesbians world wide is the inevitable,” Andre Banks said, “We won’t stop until equality is everywhere.”
On Sunday, more than 100,000 people demonstrated in support of marriage for gays and lesbians in Paris.
The French Institute of Public Opinion released their latest poll on Saturday. More than 63 percent of French citizens support marriage for gays and lesbians.
For more about the rally in Paris: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/world/europe/supporters-of-same-sex-marriage-rally-in-france.html?_r=0
On January 16, 2013 Lambda Legal announced that Mayor Rahm Emanuel
has signed the ILove Marriage Petition
. Lambda Legal released the following statement from James L. Bennett,
Regional Director for the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal:
"Mayor Emanuel has been on the forefront in advocating for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Illinois, we're very pleased that he's taken the step of signing the pledge to show his support for our efforts to bring marriage to Illinois.
"As proud Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition partners, we urge everyone in Illinois who supports our freedom to marry to join Mayor Emanuel and sign the pledge
and learn what you can do to bring marriage to Illinois. Join the Illinois Unites Campaign - we all need to be involved as we move forward with our efforts in the Illinois Assembly to pass a marriage bill.
"These are exciting times in Illinois and the momentum is with us. Call your state representative and senator now and tell them to vote yes for marriage for same-sex couples - It's just time!"
Illinois Unites for Marriage Coalition brings together a diverse group of individuals and organizations from across Illinois, including business groups, labor, faith organizations, Republicans, Democrats and grassroots supporters. The coalition is being organized by Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois. To learn more visit http://www.illinoisunites.org/
On the first day of the legislative session, Representative Greg Harris and Senator Heather Steans wasted no time in pushing for the freedom to marry. The lawmakers introduced HB 110 and SB 110, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.
On May 30, 2012, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois each filed lawsuits representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry. Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General's office filed papers agreeing that barring same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and States Attorney also agree that the marriage ban is unconstitutional. On Wednesday, November 21, 2012, State Representatives Greg Harris, Deborah Mell, and Kelly Cassidy filed HB 5710, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in the Illinois General Assembly, which provides that all laws of Illinois applicable to marriage apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples.
For more information about Darby v. Orr
, visit www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/darby-v-orr
. For more information about Lambda Legal's I Love Marriage campaign visit: http://www.lambdalegal.org/ilove
Camilla Taylor, National Marriage Project Director and Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office are handling the case Darby v. Orr
for Lambda Legal. They are joined by Emily Nicklin, Jordan M. Heinz and Amy Crawford of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago.
by Dan Rafter for HRCGingrich – who oversaw the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act – urges GOP to stop fighting against marriage equality
In an interview with the Huffington Post
, former Republican presidential candidate and House Speaker Newt Gingrich
made remarks indicating he and other GOP leaders should embrace civil marriage equality – the latest sign of powerful momentum for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality this year. Gingrich served as Speaker of the House in 1996, when the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed into law.
“Newt Gingrich reflects the experience that has changed the minds of so many Americans in understanding that LGBT people are a part of every family and community – including his own,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “His evolution resonates with people on a very personal level and is a quintessential example of why momentum is on the side of equality.”
Newt Gingrich is just the latest of those who once opposed marriage equality to evolve to a position of supporting the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry. David Blankenhorn, the star witness against marriage equality in the Proposition 8 case, has had a similar change of heart. As another sign of progress, the Mormon Church, which was the largest funder of Prop 8, sat out this election cycle and remained silent in the four victorious marriage fights.
In addition to last month’s marriage victories at the polls, Americans are continuing to demonstrate their support for equality in overwhelming numbers. In fact, support for marriage has increased 21 percent
in just eight years – a remarkable shift in public opinion over a short period of time. As more LGBT people share their personal stories, Americans – including an increasing number of Republicans like Gingrich – are joining the ranks of equality supporters. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, former First Lady Laura Bush, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Ted Olson, former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, and Paul Singer are among those in the GOP who support
“Gingrich’s recognition that Americans now overwhelmingly support marriage equality draws a sharp contrast with the few extremists continuing to fight against equality,” added Griffin. “Gingrich’s comments give other Republican leaders the room to do the right thing and embrace marriage equality – which is reflective of the fundamental conservative principles of freedom and individual liberty. The six million LGBT people who voted this election cycle, along with the decisive victories we secured across the board, make clear the direction in which our country is heading.”
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Pending legislation protects religious freedom, gives same-‐sex couples freedom to marry
CHICAGO, Dec. 20, 2012 – In the wake of the announcement by key legislators that they will seek passage of an Illinois marriage equality bill on January 2013, a broad range of organizations have joined to form a new coalition, called Illinois Unites for Marriage. The coalition will be wholly focused on securing legislation giving same-‐sex couples the freedom to marry in early 2013.
Illinois Unites brings together a diverse group of individuals and organizations from across Illinois, including business groups, labor, faith organizations, Republicans, Democrats and grassroots supporters. The coalition is being organized by Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois
"We are uniting to urge members of the Illinois General Assembly to let all Illinoisans express their love and life-‐long commitment through civil marriage," said Bernard Cherkasov
, CEO of Equality Illinois
, the state's oldest and largest LGBT advocacy organization.
“The momentum is undeniable – allowing same-‐sex couples to marry is the right thing for Illinois,” said Jim Bennett, Regional Director of Lambda Legal
. “It’s best for our state that our government treat all families with equity and respect. Nine other states now have full marriage equality. It’s time for Illinois to act.”
The legislation, currently called HB 5170, would give gay and lesbian couples in Illinois the freedom to marry and thereby enter a life-‐long commitment of responsibility and respect. Recent polling indicates that a majority in Illinois supports giving same-‐sex couples the freedom to marry. Meanwhile, national polls as well as the November elections confirm that the American people have turned a corner on the issue.
“Same-‐sex couples will strengthen the institution of marriage,” said John Knight, ACLU’s LGBT Project Director
. “They want to marry because of their love and commitment and because marriage provides them and their families with the security, support and legal protections that civil unions can never provide.”
The three founding organizations of Illinois Unites for Marriage believe that the government should have a statewide policy treating all Illinoisans with dignity and respect. The coalition is working closely with the bill’s lead sponsors, Representative Greg Harris
(D-‐Chicago) and Senator Heather Steans
(D-‐Chicago), who announced last week they would seek a January vote on the measure.
The Illinois marriage bill respects religious freedom. Every church and religious group will make its own decisions about whether to allow same-‐sex couples to marry in their faith. Faiths that do not want to embrace same-‐sex marriage will not have to.
The three founding organizations of Illinois Unites for Marriage believe that all Illinoisans deserve a statewide policy of fairness, dignity and equal treatment. Nine states plus the District of Columbia have already given same-‐sex couples the freedom to marry: Iowa, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maryland.
Fro more information about the bill, on how citizens can make their voices heard, and how organizations can express their support visit www.illinoisunites.org.
Fifteen days out from Election Day, TheFour.com
-- the social media campaign in support of marriage equality in the four states where it is on the ballot this November -- launched a final, one-day push for much-needed funds for each of the four state coalitions fighting for marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State.
The link to the fundraising effort is here: thefour.com/moneybomb
. Original art is attached.Brain Ellner
, one of the founders of the initiative, said: “In 15 short days we have the chance to make history and win all four ballot measures on marriage equality. If we do, our opponents will lose their key argument and we'll have demonstrated that public opinion has in fact reached the tipping point towards equality. We are ahead in all four. But the campaigns need every dollar. Now is the time for all of us to do everything we can and make equality history.”Ryan Davis,
another founder, said: “We hope that everyone who supports equality will re-post our Monday content or blog about it using our original art and share it widely with their networks, using hash-tag #15days4marriage.”
During the event on Monday, Oct 22
(15 days out from the election), followers will be urged to donate $15, $150, $1500 (or more) to the state marriage campaigns and can do so with one click from a custom Act Blue webpage. Donations of $15, $150, $1500 can be split among all four, or one can give any amount to each. All money raised goes DIRECTLY to the campaigns through their Act Blue accounts. Our initiative never touches the donations.
The independently-run state marriage equality organizations which will benefit from the Moneybomb for Equality are Mainers United for Marriage, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, Minnesotans United for All Families, and Washington United for Marriage. TheFour.com
has made its own donation to each of these organizations. TheFour.com
promotes marriage equality in exciting ways to remind supporters -- especially young people through social media sharing – to get out and vote. Its daily updates were recently cited by The New York Times
as an innovative way to meet new technology-driven content expectations. USA Today
is “aimed at young people who live on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.”
The most recent polling
suggests that for the first time marriage equality can win at the ballot box in all four states. On November 6, Maine will be voting on whether to legalize same sex marriage, Maryland and Washington voters will decide whether to confirm or reject marriage equality laws enacted by their legislatures. And Minnesota will vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. TheFour.com
is collaboration between nationally recognized leaders in social media and LGBT rights, including Brian Ellner, Ryan Davis, Jeremy Heimans and Andre Banks. It is organized as a project of Purpose Action Inc. which also serves as the home of AllOut.org
, an online social movement of over 1 million members globally working to build a world where every person can live freely and embrace who they are. Funding for The Four was made possible by the generous founding contribution of Jason Goldberg, the founder of Fab, and from contributions by other supporters.