JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri judge on Friday denied a request for a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit challenging Gov. Jay Nixon’s directive allowing legally married same-sex couples to file joint state tax returns.
Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem specifically noted in his ruling he was not taking a position on whether the legal challenge is likely to succeed. Beetem said in his written ruling that the plaintiffs challenging Nixon’s tax order did not establish irreparable injury from a monetary loss and that the proposed restraining order failed to prevent the intangible injury they cited.
Nixon’s office said the ruling provides certainty for Missourians filing their 2013 taxes.
Beetem scheduled another hearing for the case May 2.
The Missouri Constitution bars same-sex couples from marrying in Missouri, and the state does not recognize same-sex marriages conducted other states.
Nixon in November ordered Miss ouri tax officials to permit same-sex couples who are legally married in another state to file joint state tax returns. Missouri’s tax code is tied to that of the federal government, and couples who file joint federal returns must also file state taxes jointly. Federal officials have said legally married same-sex couples would be treated as married for tax filing purposes regardless of their residence.
Representatives of the Missouri Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission and the Missouri Family Policy Council filed a lawsuit challenging Nixon’s directive. They contend Nixon’s order violates the constitution.
Article continues belowAttorney Mike Whitehead said the plaintiffs were not seeking to affect the tax filing process during the current tax season and that the decision does not change their legal position.
“We are glad the judge set a May 2 date to schedule these next steps as soon as possible,” Whitehead said. “It is the final judgment that is important.”
The lawsuit was filed by Kerry Messer, who is the founder of the Missouri Family Network; Justin Mosher, who is a pastor and chairman of the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention; Don Hinkle, who is director of public policy for the Missouri Baptist Convention executive board; and Joe Ortwerth, who is the executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council.
The Missouri attorney general’s office declined to comment on the ruling.
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