Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the ruling from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that legally-married same-sex couples will be recognized as married for federal tax purposes. The new rule applies to all legally-married same-sex couples, regardless of whether they live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.
"Today, the IRS sent a clear message: America's federal tax system will not discriminate based on who you love," Cantwell said. "Today's decision means that all couples legally married in Washington state can file a joint federal tax return, regardless of where they choose to live. I'm proud to have helped work in support of this decision to bring about much-needed clarity for same-sex couples across the country.
"In June, we witnessed history as the Supreme Court acknowledged that same-sex couples deserve equal treatment under the law. Today, our nation took another step toward equality for all Americans. I will continue to work on the Senate Finance Committee to ensure equality in the tax code, and to make sure federal laws and regulations treat all married couples as equals."
A member of the Senate Committee on Finance, Cantwell has been a leader on Congressional efforts to bring parity for same-sex couples to the federal tax code. In June 2011, Cantwell and five of her colleagues sent a letter to the IRS calling on the agency to fix the problems same-sex couples faced while filing their federal income tax returns. Cantwell cosponsored a bill that year to end the taxation of health care benefits to domestic partners, creating parity with married couples whose benefits are not taxed.
Cantwell is a long-time supporter of equal rights for all Americans. In July, Cantwell sent a letter with 38 of her colleagues calling on President Obama to swiftly implement the Supreme Court's decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). She praised the Supreme Court's June ruling that Section 3 of the DOMA is unconstitutional and prior to that cosponsored legislation to repeal DOMA. Before the DOMA decision Cantwell signed onto an amicus brief filed with the Court in March urging the Court to find Section 3's denial of federal benefits and protections to same-sex couples unconstitutional.