Saturday, December 14, 2013

Daily Press: Repeal the Marshall Newman Amendment

Despite the Internal Revenue Service's decision to recognize legal same sex marriages regardless of a couple's state of residency, married gay and lesbian couples in Virginia will be able to file joint federal tax returns next April.  Virginia - which has long boot strapped its tax returns on federal return forms and calculations - however will not recognize such marriages or allow joint returns.  That ruling is based on the opinion of closet case homophobe extraordinaire, Ken Cuccinelli.  Not surprisingly, Christofascists at The Family Foundation and other hate groups are lauding Cuccinelli's ruling.  The Daily Press (which has shifted from far right positions more recently) has condemned this discriminatory stance.  Here are editorial excerpts:

Our commonwealth continues to exhibit a discouraging propensity for ignoring individual rights through legislative fiat. The latest caveat illustrating that tendency is the state Department of Taxation's notice to gay and lesbian married couples.

According to the department's advisory, gay and lesbian married couples are not eligible for newly granted federal tax benefits.

That means, for now, while same-sex couples married in other states can file federal income taxes jointly, they must file as separate individuals for tax purposes in the state of Virginia.

The office of outgoing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli — who hung his hat, if not his career, on social issue crusades — maintains this is in keeping with the state's prohibition of same-sex unions. A 1975 law banning same-sex unions was reinforced in 2006 when Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a specifically heterosexual enterprise.

Ironically Virginia hasn't chosen to follow its own star regarding federal taxation policies for quite some time.. According to the taxation department's website:  "Since 1972, Virginia has conformed to federal income tax law. Whenever federal income tax law changed, the changes automatically affected Virginia income taxes, unless otherwise exempt. …."

Our founding documents — not the least of which is the 14th Amendment — go into specific detail about the rights of individual afforded by our Constitution. Then there's Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. The "full faith and credit clause" means, among other things, that your valid Virginia driver's license is valid in Georgia, too. States honor and recognize the official acts of other states.  Government should not meddle in the private lives of its citizens. This concept is even more germane in the face of a changing society.

On these pages, prior to the Supreme Court ruling which affected DOMA interpretations, this Editorial Board advocated voiding discriminatory laws. That stance still holds true.  Virginians need to reconsider the constitutional marriage bans. All of our citizens deserve to expect fair treatment under the law.

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