NCLR Responds to Utah Tax Commission Decision to Honor the Marriages of Same-Sex Couples

Recently, the Utah State Tax Commission announced that it will permit same-sex couples who were legally married as of December 31, 2013 to file their state income taxes as married for the year of 2013. Earlier this month, the Governor announced that the State of Utah intended to stop providing married same-sex couples with the rights and protections of marriage under Utah law, pending the appeal of a federal district court decision.

The case, Kitchen v. Herbert, was brought by three same-sex couples in Utah: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. That decision is on appeal before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which has ordered an expedited briefing schedule.

The couples are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:

“We welcome the Utah State Tax Commission’s announcement that it will permit legally married same-sex couples to file joint state income taxes for the year of 2013. 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. That refusal will cause real harms to these families, while providing no benefit to anyone. As the United States District Court recognized in Kitchen v. Herbert, Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples violates multiple guarantees of the federal Constitution. We look forward to the prompt resolution of the State’s appeal of that decision and are hopeful that the Tenth Circuit will affirm the district court’s ruling so that all families in Utah can enjoy equal protection of the laws.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

[From a News Release]

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1 Comment on "NCLR Responds to Utah Tax Commission Decision to Honor the Marriages of Same-Sex Couples"

  1. I disagree with Kate Kendell’s statement in two ways:

    She is not referring to “all families in Utah” but only to families in Utah led by a couple who are married or want to marry. There are still thousands of Utah families led by same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are not married and do not wish to marry in the near future.

    It also could be argued that the refusal of the Utah Government to recognize same-sex marriages does benefit many Mormons and other religious and social conservatives who oppose the concept of marriage equality. The government refusal brings these conservatives comfort in that the state is acting in accordance with the Bible as religious and social conservative interpret its message. It also probably provides greater comfort for some conservatives who are terrified that God might retaliate against Utah with earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados, or other natural disasters because of the federal District Court’s extension of marriage to loving, committed same-sex couples. Such fear is widespread in spite of the lack of evidence of any retaliation by God so far to those states and countries that have achieved marriage equality — some for over a decade.

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