Marking a step forward in the fight for marriage equality, the Treasury Department and IRS anounced on Thursday that legally married same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, even if the couple lives in a state that does not recognize gay marriage.
The announcement marks implementation of the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court decision that found a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional and "a deprivation of equal liberty."
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of the marriage equality organization Freedom to Marry, said that the "announcement makes today a day of celebration and relief for married same-sex couples all over America."
However, Wolfson continued, it "highlights the need for an America where everyone can marry the person they love in any state, and have that marriage respected at all levels of government."
LGBT Weekly notes that before today's announcement by the Treasury Department and IRS,
transfers of property, gifts and inheritances between same-sex spouses were taxed, unlike those between opposite-sex spouses – as was the case in Edie Windsor’s successful challenge to DOMA before the Supreme Court. Even the health insurance benefits provided for a same-sex spouse were treated as taxable income, costing the average same-sex couple over $1,000 a year in additional taxes.