Here's a comment from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on the decision:
Today's ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal law that all Americans deserve. This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.This announcement was entirely logical, based on the SCOTUS decision back in June that deemed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.
The expected parties chimed in from both the 'pro' and 'con' side. For example:
The Treasury Department is grossly overstepping its authority. This is a nation of laws. Only Congress has the authority to change the law...This action continues a pattern of lawlessness across the nation where administrators and clerks have taken it upon themselves to interpret and re-write laws as they pertain to marriage. Only the legislative branches of the Federal or State governments enact or rewrite the law... This, from Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. I'm guessing that those 'administrators and clerks' include Supreme Court Justices, who down DOMA?
This welcome clarification provides fair and consistent treatment for all legally married couples across the country. The federal government is right to recognized that people's marriages shouldn't dissolve when they cross state lines. So said James Esseks, director of the ACLU's LGBT Project.This one seemed like a no-brainer for the IRS. The alternative, of course, would be to treat opposite-sex marriages the same as same-sex marriages, which I'm sure no one wants to mess with. For example:
- Try telling an opposite-sex couple just back from their destination wedding and honeymoon on a Caribbean island that they're not really married, because they had their wedding in another country.
- Try explaining to all of those loving opposite-sex couples that got married in Las Vegas at the Elvis Wedding Chapel that their marriage is meaningless here in New York, because it happened in another state.
- Or my favorite, try telling married opposite-sex couples that they can no longer have any of the myriad benefits that go along with being married. There's more than just the tax implications, such as the one that was the reason for the Windsor/DOMA case in the first place.
What's complicated is way beyond the issue of marriage equality, and that's the thinking that somehow, every 'interest group' is entitled to some special benefit under the varied laws of the federal government and of each state. Individuals and businesses, doctors and lawyers, farmers and bankers, rich people and poor, military contractors and tourist traps and everyone and everything in between, have a chance at any number of reductions, credits, and benefits simply because they are, well either a person, place or thing. It's nuts.
What if, heaven forbid, we actually treated everyone equally, in just the tax code? What if we made everyone pay their fair share, and not some manufactured share based on who they loved, their race, their location, their occupation, or how they spent their salary?
An outrage of biblical proportions, I'm sure. The screaming that's been happening since June 26th over same sex marriage will pale in comparison to what would happen if we truly moved towards a limited government that acted with equality.
Anyone want to stick around for that?