The Buzz

January 16, 2014

STATE HOUSE: Rep. Todd Rutherford files bill to let gay married couples file joint state tax returns

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

State Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, has filed a bill -- H.4461 -- that would allow legally married same-sex couples file joint state tax returns.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in South Carolina. But it is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia. And the federal government officially recognizes those marriages even if they live in a state -- like South Carolina -- where gay marriage is illegal, allowing them to file joint federal tax returns.

The state Department of Revenue has proposed a rule that would require legally married same-sex couples in South Carolina to file separate state tax returns.

"Requiring legally married same-sex couples to file excess paperwork and additional tax forms is not only discriminatory, but it is a waste of time and tax dollars," Rutherford said in a news release. "By putting this additional burden on legally married couples, the state of South Carolina is intentionally creating bureaucratic red tape for political purposes. It simply isn't right and it is our responsibility to change this discriminatory policy."

Rutherford also filed a bill -- H.4460 -- that would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would repeal South Carolina's same-sex marriage ban. Voters overwhelmingly approved the same-sex marriage ban in 2006.

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