Missouri Gay and Lesbian Couples Filing Joint Tax Returns Challenged in New Lawsuit.
Kansas City, Mo. - After Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) announced in November, 2013 that he would sign an executive order to allow gay and lesbian couples who were legally married in other states to file joint tax returns with the Missouri Department of Revenue, his executive order has been challenged today.
The Missouri Times has just reported that “Four Missouri taxpayers filed a lawsuit on Jan. 8 challenging Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s recent executive order that permitted some same-sex couples to file a Missouri combined income tax return as “husband” and “wife” for 2013, in spite of a 2004 state constitutional amendment which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”
The lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs state that Gov. Nixon’s executive order is “trying to thwart the will of the people of Missouri, where nearly 71 percent of the voters adopted “Amendment 2” in 2004. The amendment, now codified as Article 1, Section 33 of the Missouri Constitution, says simply, “That to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.”
A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality advocacy organization stated today, “"Gov. Nixon's pragmatic and reasonable order ensures that Missouri income tax law continues to mirror the Federal Treasury and IRS. This order gives clear and equal guidance to all legally married couples in Missouri about how to complete their state income tax returns. The plaintiffs have no grounds to file this case, the Governor's order should stand."
The Missouri Times reports that in the case filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, Mo., the plaintiffs are:
Justin Mosher, pastor of Fifth Street Baptist Church in Hannibal, Mo., and chairman of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) Christian Life Commission (CLC).
Don Hinkle, MBC director of public policy and editor of the MBC’s newsjournal, The Pathway.
Kerry Messer from Festus, Mo., legislative liaison for the CLC in the Missouri Legislature and also the founder of a pro-family organization based in Jefferson City, Mo., called Missouri Family Network.
Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, one of more than 30 such state organizations formally associated with Focus on the Family, the family support ministry founded by Dr. James Dobson.
In Missouri’s neighboring state of Kansas, two same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit, Nelson, et al., v. Kansas Department of Revenue (Case No. 13-C1465), against the Kansas department of revenue alleging unfair tax treatment. http://allsfairkansas.com.
“In Kansas all married persons have to use the same income and tax status and information on all tax returns,” said Thomas Witt, Equality Kansas’ executive director. “There is no separate law for legally married same-sex couples, and the state shouldn’t be making separate rules that penalize or stigmatize married gay and lesbian Kansans.”