Missouri governor Jay Nixon says same-sex couples who live in his state and were married elsewhere can file joint state tax returns, a move that has roused the ire of some conservative state lawmakers.
Nixon issued an executive order to this effect Thursday, and it makes Missouri unique among the 50 states — it is the only one without same-sex marriage recognition that will allow the joint state tax filings, reports the News-Leader of Springfield, Mo.
He made the move because legally married same-sex couples can now file joint federal tax returns, in light of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing federal government recognition of their marriages.
“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, a Democrat, said in a press release. “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.”
Tim Jones, the speaker of the Missouri House, issued a statement lambasting Nixon: “Once again, Governor Nixon is trying to play all sides of every issue, indulging his liberal ideals while hedging his bets by saying the courts have forced his hand.” Jones, a Republican, also said Nixon was defying the state constitution, which prohibits same-sex marriage, and that the governor should release a legal opinion from the state attorney general justifying the order, the News-Leader reports.
Nixon’s press release said the order does amount to an approval of same-sex marriage. He has expressed opposition to marriage equality on several occasions, but he recently has made somewhat supportive statements, the paper notes.