December 13, 2012

Q&A on same-sex marriage in Maine

Local advocates answer questions about taxes, licenses, vendors and other issues facing same-sex couples who plan to get married.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Ellie MacCallum, left, of Windham, receives a kiss from her partner, Judy Eycleshymer, right, after they learned same sex marriage had passed while at the Mainers United for Marriage party at the Holiday Inn by the Bay Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Maine will be issued beginning Dec. 29.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Q: Once a same-sex couple are married, can they file taxes jointly?

A: That is still undetermined.

Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage for legal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, same-sex couples cannot file federal taxes jointly. The federal law also restricts access to Social Security and veterans benefits.

State taxes are another story. Some states that have passed same-sex marriage laws have allowed those couples to file taxes jointly. Maine has not made a decision, said Buonato, and the ruling ultimately will come from Maine Revenue Services.

Q: Can Maine's same-sex marriage law be repealed or put on hold?

A: Any Maine law can be repealed, through the legislative process or through the citizens initiative process, although neither appears likely, according to Farmer.

Mainers approved same-sex marriage 53 percent to 47 percent, a margin wide enough to suggest that voters are unlikely to overturn it. And with Democratic majorities in the Legislature, it's unlikely that there would be enough votes in the House and Senate to overturn the law.

Even if opponents started the process of gathering signatures to force another citizens initiative, the law would be in effect during that process.

More information is available at www.glad.org. A list of same-sex wedding resources is available at www.equalitymaine.org.

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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