Gov. Brown Signs Bill to Provide Tax Fairness for Same Sex Couples

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA –  Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation authored by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) to provide tax fairness for same sex couples after the United States Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8.

“Same sex couples in California can finally choose marriage but our tax policy penalizes them for being unable to marry until now,” said Ting. “This new law is the first of its kind to ensure that all couples are taxed equally by the state, regardless of who they love.  It also provides same sex couples a window of time to transition to marriage, which shows California’s commitment to fairness for its lesbian, gay and bisexual residents in spite of continued federal discrimination.”

Sponsored by Equality California, AB 362 exempts from state income tax until 2019 any incremental bumps in salary that a growing list of employers - like Facebook, Google, Bank of America, Microsoft, Time Warner, and Bain & Company – provide to their employees to offset this unfair federal tax burden.

"The Governor's signature today affirms the belief that no matter who you love, everyone should be treated equally under the law," said John O'Connor, Executive Director of Equality California.  "We applaud Assemblymember Ting for authoring this bill and standing up for gay and lesbian couples throughout California!"

California already exempts from state income tax calculations the value of health benefits provided by employers to the partners and children of same sex couples.  Until DOMA was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal government did not.  The Defense of Marriage Act prohibited federal recognition of same-sex relationships.  Consequently, same-sex headed families could not exclude the value of health insurance for their partner and their children from federal income taxes.

Employees with same sex partners pay an average of $1,097 more in federal taxes than opposite-sex married employees with the same health coverage.

“I am proud to support AB 362 at the State level which expands on my local legislation to counter discriminatory federal tax policy and provide a higher level of equality for same-sex spouses and same-sex domestic partners,” said San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell. “Same-sex couples should not be required to pay more income taxes than others simply due to the nature of their intimate partner relationship.”

Further information about AB 362 is available online at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Contact:  Anthony Matthews, tel. (916) 319-2019