U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on October 17 that the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages performed in seven more states. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review rulings from federal appeals courts that had struck down bans on same-sex marriage in some of these states. Regardless of state action, the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages as validly performed in these states, Holder said.
After the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in E.S. Windsor, the IRS issued Rev. Rul. 2013-17 to recognize same-sex marriage. For federal tax purposes, a marriage of same-sex individuals is valid if it is validly entered into in a state whose laws authorize the marriage of two individuals of the same sex, even if the married couple is domiciled in a state that does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages. The IRS also ruled that, for federal tax purposes, the terms “spouse,” “husband and wife,” “husband” and “wife” include an individual married to a person of the same sex if the individuals are lawfully married under state law, and the term “marriage” includes a marriage between individuals of the same sex.
In a statement and web posting, Holder directed attorneys at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work with federal agencies to ensure that all federal benefits are extended to same-sex married couples in Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. “We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled,” Holder said. He added that, if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to address the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage, the DOJ is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality.
Provided by CCH