MO Gov. Issues Executive Order Making State First to Accept Joint Tax Returns of Gay Couples Despite Gay Marriage Ban

The governor of Missouri issued an executive order that allows same-sex couples to file joint tax returns in the state, despite the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

While Missouri currently does not recognize same-sex unions the order would allow those couples who were legally married in those states that do recognize same-sex marriage to still file joint tax returns.

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon revealed that he issued the order in accordance with his state's tax code given that it requires the Missouri's tax code to correlate with the Internal Revenue Service regulations.

"Missouri is one of a number of states whose tax code is directly tied to that of the federal government, and under Missouri law, legally married couples who file joint federal tax returns with the IRS must also file joint state returns with our state Department of Revenue," Nixon said in a news release announcing the order.

"As a result, accepting the jointly-filed state tax returns of all legally-married couples who file federal returns is the only appropriate course of action, given Missouri statutes and the ruling by the U.S. Department of Treasury," he said.

The need to issue such an order was due to the Supreme Court's ruling that key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were unconstitutional.

This past August, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS revealed that same-sex couples who were married in states that recognize such unions would have those marriages recognized, even in states that do not, for the purposes of federal tax returns.

Still legislators in the state think this as more to do with appeasing political allies than it has to do with keeping with federal law.

"The governor's job is to defend our state's constitution-including the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman that was passed overwhelmingly in this state-not to surrender to the whims of the Obama administration," House Speaker Tim Jones said in a statement released last week.

The order makes Missouri the first state that does not recognize same-sex unions to allow those couples to list their status as married when filing joint tax returns.

Still Nixon insists that he was just following the law and that his actions do not legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Nixon did, however, state that he does support the concept of marriage equality even though voters in the state rejected such a proposal in 2004.

"Many Missourians, including myself, are thinking about these issues of equality in new ways and reflecting on what constitutes discrimination. To me that process has led to the belief that we shouldn't treat folks differently just because of who they are," Nixon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I think if folks want to get married, they should be able to get married."

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