Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has promised reparations for same-sex couples.
The senior United States Senator from Massachusetts renewed her commitment to correct the ‘wrongs’ of the past.
‘It wasn’t until marriage equality became law that gay and lesbian couples could jointly file tax returns,’ she wrote on Twitter yesterday (23 June). ‘So they paid more in taxes.’
She then added: ‘Our government owes them more than $50M for the years our discriminatory tax code left them out. We must right these wrongs.’
It wasn’t until marriage equality became law that gay & lesbian couples could jointly file tax returns—so they paid more in taxes. Our government owes them more than $50M for the years our discriminatory tax code left them out. We must right these wrongs. https://t.co/OZQcfVilSs
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 23, 2019
What does this mean?
Senator Warren is planning to introduce the Refund Equality Act, which was originally introduced in 2017 but failed to pass.
In 2013, the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), finding limiting marriage only to opposite sex couples as ‘unconstitutional’.
But prior to this ruling, 10 US states had already legalized same-sex marriage. Because DoMA was in effect, same-sex couples were required to file their federal taxes as individuals. This meant they were paying more in taxes.
As a result of the 2013 Supreme Court’s decision, same-sex couples became entitled to change their previous tax returns from individual to joint. However, this was only possible for the previous three years before the decision.
Senator Warren’s Refund Equality Act would see LGBTI couples allowed to claim joint tax return status for the full duration of their marriage.
This could amount to up to $57 million in reparations.
Senator Warren said in a statement last week (20 June): ‘The federal government forced legally married same-sex couples in Massachusetts to file as individuals and pay more in taxes for almost a decade. It is only right that we change this tax code to make it fairer for all.’