The Washington Post

Missouri governor allows same-sex couples to file joint tax returns

Gov. Jay Nixon (D), speaking Aug. 15, 2013, at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. (Orlin Wagner/Associated Press)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) said Thursday 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 state Department of Revenue, a move likely to prompt a legislative reaction from the Republican-dominated legislature.

Nixon told reporters Thursday that because the couples will be able to file joint returns with the Internal Revenue Service, the Missouri Department of Revenue should accept those returns as well.

The Treasury Department and the IRS ruled in August that legally married same-sex couples could file joint returns after a Supreme Court decision in June overturned a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Nixon, a conservative Democrat serving his second term, said the move wasn’t about defining marriage. He said because taxpayers have to file federal tax forms with the state Revenue Department, allowing gay couples to file with the state “is the only appropriate course of action.”

“Many Missourians, including myself, are thinking about these issues of equality in new ways and reflecting on what constitutes discrimination. To me, that process has led to the belief that we shouldn’t treat folks differently just because of who they are,” Nixon said Thursday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think if folks want to get married, they should be able to get married.”

Missouri’s Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and Republican officials accused Nixon of acting unilaterally to appease the Democratic base.

“The governor’s job is to defend our state’s constitution — including the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman that was passed overwhelmingly in this state — not to surrender to the whims of the Obama administration,” state House Speaker Tim Jones (R) said in a statement first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The executive order doesn’t allow gay and lesbian couples with a marriage certificate to take advantage of state tax breaks already available to straight couples.

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Republicans debated Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Highlights from Saturday's GOP debate
Except for an eminent domain attack from Bush, Trump largely avoided strikes from other candidates.

Christie went after Rubio for never having been a chief executive and for relying on talking points.

Carson tried to answer a question on Obamacare by lamenting that he hadn't been asked an earlier question about North Korea.
The GOP debate in 3 minutes
Play Video
We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they're booing me? I don't want their money!
Donald Trump, after the debate crowd at St. Anselm's College booed him for telling Jeb Bush to be "quiet."
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She's planning to head Sunday to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 38%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.