The US Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) earlier this summer is now having some not-so-surprising repercussions. The IRS is trying to figure out how to treat “married” homosexual couples who were married in a same-sex marriage state, who now reside in a natural marriage state, like South Carolina. The US Supreme Court’s ruling seemed simple enough on the surface to advocates of same-sex marriage, but implementing the ruling is an entirely separate issue. The ruling stated that, if a couple were to be legally married in a state that legalized same-sex marriages, the federal government would also recognize that marriage and afford federal benefits accordingly. The court did not specify, however, whether or not the same-sex couple had to remain and reside in the state in which the same-sex marriage was performed and initially recognized.
As a result, numerous federal agencies are making conflicting decisions regarding how same-sex marriages will be recognized for the purposes of federal benefits and taxation. For example, the Social Security Administration is only granting same-sex marriage benefits based on the state of residence; the Medicare program, however, is going to grant federal benefits based on where the couple was married, not where they currently reside. This means that, in order to receive federal recognition of a same-sex union with regard to Social Security benefits, same-sex couples must remain in the state in which their marriage ceremony was performed, while a gay or lesbian couple would qualify for Medicare based on the state where they were married, not the state in which they presently live. Confusing, isn’t it? Furthermore, the IRS will, as a result of these program discrepancies, require the same-sex couple to file a joint federal tax return, while 37 natural marriage states (like South Carolina) will require two individual tax returns, as those states don’t recognize same-sex marriage under their tax codes. This means that a gay or lesbian couple in South Carolina would, most likely, file up to three tax returns (one federal joint return, two state individual returns).
This is such a confusing mess that some states that recognize only natural marriage between a man and woman are caving on their own tax laws, thus de facto recognizing same-sex marriage. These states include our next door neighbor, Georgia. The argument made by officials in those states is that, while their state constitutions do not recognize same-sex marriage, it’s easier to go with the flow with regard to tax returns and benefits than to stand up for the state’s constitution. I think this is a cave on the most critical social structure in American Society: the nucleic family, which is founded on natural marriage between a man and a woman. No amount of difficulty is too burdensome to endure to stand-up for such a critical social structure.
I would ask you all to call Governor Nikki Haley’s office and encourage her to continue to stand strong in directing South Carolina’s state agencies, particularly the SC Department of Revenue, to uphold our state’s natural marriage amendment to the state constitution, not cave in the face of conflicting federal tax and benefit guidelines. If a same sex couple moves to South Carolina, after being married in a same-sex marriage state, they should have to abide by our state’s law, particularly with regard to taxes and state benefits, not bend our state’s law to fit their definition of marriage. South Carolina must stand strong, even if states like Georgia and Florida are failing to defend the will of their own citizens and the words of their own marriage laws. Failure to do so will expedite the process of nationalizing same-sex marriage, wherein all states will be forced to recognize homosexual marriage as the equivalent of the natural union of one man and one woman.
*Contact SC Governor Nikki R. Haley:
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Main Telephone Line: 803.734.2100