INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 22, 2014)– State lawmakers are debating a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, moved bill HJR3 from the Judiciary Committee to the Elections Committee where it’ll be heard Wednesday afternoon.
As that issue takes front and center at the statehouse, one gay Indiana couple says they can’t find a way to legally file their taxes here.
Greg McDonald and Michael Tory Worland were married in Davenport, Iowa in 2010 after more than a decade together as a couple. Both born and raised in Indiana, McDonald and Worland say crossing back into the Hoosier State gave them a sense of sadness.
“Indiana does not recognize our marriage even though they recognize other marriages from Iowa, they won’t recognize ours,” said McDonald.
Now that emotional battle is taking another form- specifically when it comes to filling out tax forms.
Because Indiana doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, both McDonald and Worland must fill out state income tax forms as single individuals.
They can jointly file their federal tax returns because they have a legal marriage certificate from Iowa. However, they each also have to fill out a “sample” federal tax return as singles to submit to the State of Indiana. That’s five forms compared to other married couples’ two forms.
The two say the issue isn’t just about filling out more forms or the financial burden of filing five times, but the fact that by signing off on their Indiana tax returns, they feel forced to lie.
“Perjure yourselves and say that you’re not married on your tax forms, or file as married and face repercussions,” he said.
The State Department of Revenue sets out the guidelines for how same-sex married couples should file online.
In a statement to FOX59, Robert E. Dittmer, Director of Public Relations with the Indiana Department of Revenue said, “The Department of Revenue would never provide general taxpayer guidance that would lead anyone to the commission of perjury.”
But McDonald said that doesn’t solve the problem: he knows he is legally married and he’s being asked to sign a piece of paper that says he is not.
“If the state’s going to go down this road of discriminating against us and denying us our marital rights, it seems to me that they ought to lay out the paperwork to acknowledge that, not ask us to lie to just make it simple,” said McDonald.
“It’s not just about the taxes at this point. It’s that my marriage is not being recognized as being as valid as the couples who surround us in any of the apartments or homes in our very own community,” Worland said.