GLAA celebrates as new domestic partnership joint filing law takes effect
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Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
”Fighting for equal rights since 1971”
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
www.glaa.org


NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick Rosendall
202-667-5139
equal@glaa.org


GLAA celebrates as new domestic partnership joint filing law takes effect


The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) is pleased to announce that Domestic Partners in the District of Columbia will be able to file their D.C. taxes jointly for the 2007 tax year. Bill 16-958, the Domestic Partnerships Joint Filing Act of 2006, became law on Wednesday, March 14, 2007.

GLAA is grateful to Councilmember Jack Evans and his staff who wrote and introduced the bill. It was passed unanimously by the D.C. Council and signed by Mayor Williams during his final days in office.

Joint filing is often cited by gay couples as the right that they most want to have as couples. Two years ago, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi ruled that D.C. law allows only couples who file joint federal returns to file jointly in the District.

The issue was raised by Ed Horvath and Richard Neidich, who were married in Massachusetts and challenged the District to accept their jointly filed taxes. District of Columbia law provides that a married couple must have filed and been eligible to file a joint federal income tax return in order to file a joint or combined-separate District income tax return.

Same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions, such as Massachusetts and Canada, are still limited to filing singly, but couples registered as domestic partners in D.C., who must still file as single on federal forms, may file their 2007 taxes jointly in 2008 under the new law.

Domestic partners are also now responsible for debts in common, as would be expected, but protected from debts and contracts that their partner engaged in without their knowledge as a second bill became law on the same day. Bill 16-0671, the Domestic Partnership Property Equity Act of 2006, was also introduced by Jack Evans, but was moved through the Council by Judiciary Committee Chair Phil Mendelson. It also passed unanimously.

These bills were the 10th and 11th bills to expand the D.C. domestic partnership law since 2001. GLAA continues to urge the Council to take incremental steps to expand the law. Two other domestic partnership bills have recently been introduced by Councilmember Tommy Wells. D.C., if treated as a state, is now the sixth best in the U.S. in providing legal rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples. A full list of the rights and responsibilities of D.C. domestic partners is at http://www.glaa.org/resources/dprightsandresponsibilitiesindc.shtml.

Founded in 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbians and gay men in the Nation’s Capital. GLAA lobbies the DC Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of gay families. GLAA remains the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.

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