State Representative Aaron Michlewitz filed legislation last month that would provide tax mitigation for some same-sex married couples who are ineligible for tax benefits related to their health insurance benefits. The plan would reimburse legally married same-sex couples, who are either Commonwealth of Massachusetts employees or retirees, of their lost tax benefits. The Federal Government withholds these benefits due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which refuses to acknowledge same sex marriages even in states that have legalized it.
“This blatant inequality is unacceptable in this day and age. Same-sex married couples should be entitled to the same rights and benefits that any married couple are,” said Representative Michlewitz. “While we hope that this discrimination will be overturned in the Supreme Court later this year, this piece of legislation will help send a message that DOMA is unacceptable in this day and age.”
Same-Sex married couples who put their spouses on their employer-provided health insurance pay thousands of dollars more in taxes every year due to DOMA. The legislation would make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to reimburse same-sex couples from the discriminatory tax. The City of Cambridge offers a similar reimbursement to city employees, as do companies like Facebook and Google.
“By filing this bill we are hoping that the state can set an example which will lead other cities, states, and companies to follow suit. The ultimate goal is to end this discrimination and treat everyone equally.” Added Michlewitz.
The bill has garnered over thirty co-sponsors in the Legislature, including Representative Byron Rushing of Boston, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz of Boston, Representative Carl Sciortino of Medford, and Representative Nick Collins of Boston.