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Married same-sex couples in Utah will be allowed to file joint tax returns for 2013

Applies to marriages that took place during brief legal window or in another state
Utah newlyweds Michael_Adam_Ferguson and J_Seth_Anderson
Photo: Seth Anderson via Facebook

They live in a state where their governor says they are not legally married.

But same-sex couples married in Utah in the last 12 days of December of last year will be able to file joint tax returns for 2013, according to an announcement Thursday (16 January) from the Utah State Tax Commission.

This also applies to same-sex couples who live in Utah but were married in another state where the marriages are legal.

Charlie Roberts, spokesperson for the Tax Commission said in a statement: 'Same-sex couples whose marriages were performed in Utah pursuant to the federal district court’s order between Dec. 20, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013, or whose marriages were solemnized in other states before Dec. 31, 2013, may file individual State income returns as "married."'

There was no explanation for the policy change which flies in the face of Utah Governor Gary Herbert's declaration that the couples are not to be considered legally married.

The marriages began taking place immediately after a federal judge declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. They were stopped by the US Supreme Court which granted a stay on the ruling pending an appeal of the ruling.

The Obama administration has said the federal government will recognize the more than 1,000 marriages and grant them all the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the commission's announcement is a welcome one.

'That decision provides a modicum of protection for married same-sex couples and their families, but the State of Utah’s refusal to honor the marriages of legally married same-sex couples for other purposes is deeply disappointing,' she stated.

'That refusal will cause real harms to these families, while providing no benefit to anyone,' she added.

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