Tag Archives | same-sex marriage

Missouri bill would make issuing same-sex marriage licenses a fireable offense

A Missouri legislator has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for the state to enforce a marriage other than between a man and a woman and could lead to the firing of government employees who issue such licenses.

The bill, SB 555, was introduced by Sen. Ed Emery (R-Lamar):

This act provides that the state shall not enforce a marriage other than a marriage between a man and a woman. Additionally, no state or local taxpayer funds or state or local government employee salaries shall be dispersed for an activity that includes the licensing or support of a marriage other than a marriage between a man and a woman.

Any employee of the state or any political subdivision or instrumentality of the state who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this act may be terminated and shall no longer receive any salary, employee benefits, or retirement benefits, except that the employee may request a refund of the employee’s retirement contributions plus interest.

Same-sex marriage licenses are currently being issued in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Jackson County, Mo., following back-to-back state and federal court decisions declaring Missouri’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In Oct. 2014, a Jackson County decision recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Both the St. Louis Circuit Court and Kansas City U.S. District Court decisions have been appealed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to the State Supreme Court and 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively.

Koster, a Democrat who supports marriage equality but says it is his job to defend state laws, did not appeal the earlier decision recognizing out of state same-sex marriages.

“I was disappointed that a bill like this has been introduced this year,” said Kyle Piccola, Senior Field Organizer for PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “Even after three judges in Missouri ruled in favor of marriage equality, some members of the legislature are grasping to stop the inevitable from happening.”

Emery’s bill comes on the heels of a Senate Education Committee’s hearing of twin bills (SB-248 and SB-311) on Wednesday, which would make it legal for Christian college groups to discriminate against LGBT students on Missouri campuses. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Missouri House.

The bill is similar to measures introduced in Texas and in Oklahoma that also target local officials with job loss for issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Comments { 0 }

Same-sex married couples, Kansas, and taxes

Are you a legally married same-sex couple that lives in the state of Kansas? If you are, you probably have questions about how you can file your income taxes this year. Read on, but remember, this is only general information and should not be considered tax advice. Please consult a tax professional for that.

If you have legally been married, no matter where that marriage was performed, you are legally married for Federal tax purposes. Whether you were married in Iowa, California, Massachusetts, or even in Kansas (yes, it has happened!), the IRS expects married people to file their taxes as married.

Unfortunately, the State of Kansas – specifically the Kansas Department of Revenue – is still refusing to recognize legal marriages legally performed. According to the Department, same-sex couples cannot file Kansas tax returns as married. Under Kansas law, the marital status under which you file your Federal taxes is the marital status under which you file your state taxes. HOWEVER: The Kansas Department of Revenue is requiring same-sex married couples to complete an extra worksheet that re-calculates your income tax as though you were never married in the first place. How sweet.

Equality Kansas has done some research with tax pros and offers these options:

  • Some same-sex couples have filed their Kansas taxes as married, even with the ban in place. Some couples have had their tax returns accepted without question, while others have not.  This is probably a very risky option that could cause problems down the road.
  • If you need your Federal and state refunds immediately, with a minimum of hassle, you’re going to have to “bite the bullet” and file your Federal taxes as married, do the Kansas worksheet, and file your Kansas taxes as single. You might be able to file amended returns once/if marriage equality is recognized nationally.
  • If you are not desperate for a refund, file a Federal request for an extension. Extensions are granted automatically, and automatically reset the due date for your return to October 15. We expect the question of marriage equality to be answered, once and for all, before the end of June.  WARNING: An extension does not put off the due date for your tax payments! To avoid penalties and interest, you must pay any estimated taxes due by April 15, even if you have filed for an extension!

If you want to file your Federal return right now, and put off the State, it can be done, but the process is a bit tricky. The steps must be followed in order. Follow the instructions listed on the Equality Kansas website.

For even more information, check out the FAQs published by the IRS.

 

 

Comments { 0 }