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Tax bill separates traditional, gay marriage

Posted at 8:51 AM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 10:52:41-05

The House committee on taxation is moving forward with a bill that draws distinctions between same-sex married couples and traditional marriages, albeit only in language and not practice.

A tax conformity bill may seem like a strange place for a politician to declare his views on social policy, but a Republican majority in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee is doing that with this year's income tax bill.

The measure that cleared the committee today adds a paragraph to the conformity language addressing the Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court and Latta by the Ninth Circuit.

It reads in part: "marriages recognized and permitted by the United State Supreme Court, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals shall also be recognized for purposes of the Idaho income tax act."

Where conservative lawmakers get political is in keeping the paragraph before this new one. The language of this paragraph existed before the Obergefell decision. It reaffirms the definition of marriage found in the Idaho Constitution.

The tax bill reads: "For all purposes of the Idaho income tax act, a marriage must be one that is considered valid or recognized under section 28, article III of the Constitution of the State of Idaho."

If you need brushing up on the state constitution, that section of the code says marriage "between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."

In a previous iteration of this tax conformity bill, the old paragraph was struck out so there was no reference in the tax code to Idaho's definition of a marriage. That bill was called back after passing through committee to be replaced by this bill.

The new measure was opposed by Democrat Reps. Erpelding and Nye, and Republican Reps. Nate and Scott.