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Mo. court asked to block joint tax returns from married, same-sex couples

Mo. court asked to block joint tax returns from married, same-sex couples

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Opponents of same-sex marriage have asked a Missouri court to block Gov. Jay Nixon’s order that the state accept jointly filed tax returns from same-sex couples legally married in other states.

Missouri-flagThe plaintiffs, who represent the Missouri Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission and the Missouri Family Policy Council, filed suit in January and are now seeking a restraining order to prevent the state from accepting combined tax returns from any same-sex couple while their lawsuit is pending, including the April 15, 2014 filing deadline for the 2013 tax year.

In court papers filed Wednesday in Missouri’s Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court, plaintiffs claim they “have already suffered, and will continue to suffer, immediate and irreparable harm” if joint tax returns from same-sex couples are allowed.

The opponents contend that joint filings by married, same-sex couples will reduce the state’s tax income, because joint filings often result in lower tax liabilities than individual tax returns.

“I fail to see how anyone is specifically harmed by a couple filing their taxes jointly,” said said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “The only harm that I see is at the cost of the couples who have paid their taxes for years without having their relationship recognized.”

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Missouri is one of 24 states coupled with the federal government for tax filing purposes, and Nixon said couples who file joint federal returns must file state taxes jointly.

Federal officials determined legally married same-sex couples would be treated as married regardless of where they live.

Nixon said the directive applies to tax filing status and does not authorize same-sex marriage. The Missouri Constitution states only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in the state.

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