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The passing of Minnesota same-sex legislation brings tax changes

Major legislative changes were made in the recent past and especially this week that will affect many same-sex couples that currently reside in Minnesota or may choose to move here in the future. That change was to legalize same-sex marriage. This change will affect not only the personal lives of many, but it will also affect the rights of Minnesota taxpayers.

In 1997 legislation was passed that officially banned same-sex marriage. Since that time, opposition to the law has increased in support. This past November, voters narrowly defeated a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Since that vote, the road to legalize same-sex marriage was paved quickly.

On Thursday, May 9 the House passed a bill that would repeal the ban on same-sex marriage in the state and change the definition of marriage as a civl contract between two persons instead of the strict definition of "one man and one woman." A few days later the Senate joined the approval, passing the legislation with a 37-30 vote. On Tuesday, Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law. 

While controversy still remains concerning the now law that makes Minnesota the twelfth state to legally recognize same-sex marriage, there are tax changes that will have to be addressed.

For years, married couples have qualified for tax breaks and tax burdens as a result of their marital status. While the new law will change marital status under Minnesota income tax laws, the Defense of Marriage Act controls federal income taxes. Under that law, the definition of marriage remains as a union between man and woman. 

Couples who's marriage now holds legal recognition in Minnesota should discuss their tax situation with an experienced attorney. 

Source: MPR News, "Minn. Senate approves same-sex marriage; sends to Dayton," Paul Tosto, May 13, 2013

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