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Rev & Tax rule debate: ‘States get to define marriage’

Half a dozen Idahoans who are in same-sex marriages urged against approval of the Tax Commission’s rule requiring them to re-do their tax returns when they file their state income taxes, so that they file as a married couple for the federal returns, but recalculate that and file separately in Idaho. Monica Hopkins of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho urged the House Revenue & Taxation Committee to reject the rule, and instead follow the lead of some other states that ban same-sex marriage, to allow state tax filings to mirror federal tax filings.

The committee then heard from Phil Skinner, deputy Idaho attorney general for the Tax Commission. He said the Windsor decision from the U.S. Supreme Court essentially said, “States get to define marriage, federal government you have no right to meddling in that. States get to choose and you can’t interfere.”

Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, said, “It would appear, then, that the Tax Commission was following Idaho law when they made this change in the rule.” He said, “If there is a question about that,” it should be resolved not through a Tax Commission rule, but through “somebody coming back to the Legislature to change the law to observe same-sex marriage, or let those that are contesting this take it to court to decide whether this law is legal or not. It looks like the Tax Commission did what they are supposed to do, in terms of defining the law.”

Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, said, “As Rep. Raybould has indicated, this is the law in Idaho today, buttressed by both the statute at the Constitution.” He asked Skinner if that’s his position, and he said yes.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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