(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana lawmakers are set to vote Tuesday on a late-session change that would deny tax benefits for same-sex married couples.
The Senate Monday approved adding the language to a tax bill. If passed, it would break Indiana from the IRS federal policy that recognizes same-sex marriage for tax purposes. The measure is up for a final vote today.
The move comes after a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage in the state was derailed earlier in the session. The author of the new proposal called the change nothing more than a technicality.
"Obviously this is a contentious issue with strongly held views on both sides. This amendment had nothing to do with getting back into that debate; It's more of a consistency issue so that we follow existing state law," said State Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek). "[I]f people want to change it, that's a different debate for a different day, for a different bill. This was a minor change with respect to the revenue code."
The IRS last year announced all same-sex marriages would be recognized in federal tax returns. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in an area where their marriage is recognized. That means that regardless of what happens with the new Indiana measure, married same-sex couples can still receive tax benefits on their federal return.
Indiana Equality Action says the last-minute push could pose issues for couples who have a little more than a month to file taxes. The group also opposed the proposed constitutional gay marriage ban.
Indiana senators advanced that proposed ban without a provision that would ban civil unions. Under the state's constitutional amendment process, the civil unions ban needed to be included in the amendment for it to be placed on this November's ballot. Because that line was removed, the earliest a public referendum can be held on the proposed constitutional amendment is 2016.
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