Metro Weekly

Parliamentary Patchwork

D.C. fix expected for married gays to file jointly

The District government on Friday, Aug. 28, released some points concerning the new laws recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions and eliminating discrimination in parent recognition.

Notably, in the wake of a review by D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles of the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009 and the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act of 2009, the city is advising same-sex couples who wed legally outside of the District, or those with domestic partnerships “substantially similar” to D.C. domestic partnerships, that they need not register as domestic partners in the District. However, while city allows domestic partners to file their D.C. taxes jointly if they so choose, a wrinkle caused by the federal Defense of Marriage Act, prevents married couples of the same-sex from doing so.

Accordingly, longtime activist Bob Summersgill has drafted a fix, the Income Tax Joint Filing Clarification Act of 2009, sponsored by Councilmembers Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), David Catania (I-At large), Phil Mendelson (D-At large) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1).

A hearing has yet to be scheduled on the measure, though Summersgill says he’s fully confident this patch will be passed in short order. Nor does he have any fear that those fighting marriage equality in the District will be able to do much with this legislation during the period of congressional approval.

“Same-sex marriage is not the top priority of Congress in interfering with D.C.’s budget,” Summersgill says. “I’m not worried.”

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.