IRS moving to give homosexuals the "married" treatment

Despite the existence of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, the IRS is moving to treat homosexual couples to some of the same tax benefits of legally married couples under a new ruling that overturns a previous ruling on the same subject during the Bush Administration.  (via WSJ)

The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that same-sex couples must be treated the same as heterosexual couples under a feature of California tax law. Advocates for the change say it is the first time the agency has acknowledged gay couples as a unit for tax purposes.

The change reverses a 2006 IRS ruling and opens a tax benefit to many same-sex couples that wasn't available before. It may affect couples in Nevada and Washington state, as well.

Specifically, the agency said nearly 58,000 couples who are registered as domestic partners in California must combine their income and each report half
of it on their separate tax returns. Same-sex couples account for an
estimated 95% of the state's domestic partnerships; partnership status
is also available to heterosexual couples in which one partner is over
age 62. ...

The IRS ruling has detractors. It doesn't appear to square with the
Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal agencies from recognizing
same-sex couples,
said David Herzig, an expert in tax law at Valparaiso
University School of Law. That law, he said, means the IRS should not
be recognizing these unions, even if state law directs otherwise. ...

Of course it comes as no surprise that Obama's Administration would begin to move as far as they can (or even further) with regulations that require no Congressional approval. But this IS the same Administration run by a man who vowed to work to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.  And you can pretty well guarantee that this ends up in federal court, given that it clearly conflicts with the intent of Congress when it passed the DOMA 14 years ago.

Another point is that it's probably poor political timing for Democrats, in that it brings up the issue of gay marriage again just a few months prior to the mid-term elections...and brings up questions many Democrats would rather not have to go on record on before voters head to the polls.


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