That’s an outrage!

Yesterday’s Plain Dealer had a story that same-sex couples legally married in another state but residing in Ohio will pay lower taxes than that paid by heterosexual couples in the same economic situation. The constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages passed back in 2004 when opposition was at its peak has now led to the delicious irony of same-sex couples paying lower taxes than heterosexual couples.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, some same-sex couples in Ohio, legally married in another state but not recognized as married here, will pay less in state income tax than their heterosexual counterparts.

Calculations by an accountant estimate that for middle income couples, the difference between the two filing systems could in some cases top $1,000.

The difference in tax bills is due to the ruling, announced by the court in June, bumping into the Ohio constitution. An amendment that Ohio voters approved in 2004 specifically defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and barred the state from recognizing any other marriages as valid.

That means that while the federal government now recognizes legally performed marriages without distinctions based on gender preferences, Ohio law precludes the state from following suit.

Maybe this will change the minds of some of the opponents of same-sex marriage. One thing that such people can’t stand more than their dislike of extending equal rights to the LGBT community, is the idea that other people in their same economic situation are paying less taxes than them, though they seem to have no problem with the very wealthy paying a far smaller fraction of their income. The idea that same-sex couples in their same bracket are paying less will make them furious.


  1. says

    Much more likely, this will be interpreted by conservatives as yet another “special perq” given to gay people at the expense of straights. The fact that they are responsible for this mess will simply never cross their tiny minds.

  2. Brandon says

    Frankly, I think married couples of any sort paying more or less taxes than unmarried couples is an outrage.

  3. AsqJames says

    That article seems misleading to me for two reasons.

    First, the problem is rooted in the two contradictory state laws. One state level law “long has required couples to file their state income tax returns with the same filing status as their federal return”, another disallows same-sex couples from filing jointly at the state level. Yes, these laws only became contradictory when DOMA was struck down, but that possibility was on the cards since at least 2004 when the state constitution was amended. Realistically, enacting DOMA back in the nineties was itself a recognition that same sex marriage rights were up for debate.

    Basically, one part of state law tried to replicate an aspect of federal law, and another part of state law depended (if it were not to create a conflict) on the same federal law never changing. Anyone who imagines federal law never changes is not qualified to teach high school civics, let alone be a state legislator.

    Secondly, the state level advantage to filing independently exists for at least some married couples whether they have the same genitals or not. That for at least some of those couples there exists a federal advantage (or at least less of a penalty) to filing jointly is neither here nor there -- the article’s real complaint is that state income tax rules (sometimes) provide an incentive to file independently. This would still be true whether gay people existed or not.

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