(KFYI News) – A group promoting same-sex marriage delivered petitions to Governor Jan Brewer's office on Friday asking the governor "to reconsider her position on the recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside of Arizona."
Jeremy Zegas from Why Marriage Matters Arizona says the more than 1,100 online signatures collected this week were prompted by the April 15th income-tax filing deadline. Zegas says same-sex couples who were married in other states but live in Arizona must do their taxes twice because they can file their federal tax returns jointly, but must file separately for Arizona.
"We basically had to do our taxes twice," says Melanie Puskar-Blakely, who married her wife Tonya in California but lives in the Valley. Both of them, and the two pre-school-age daughters they are raising together, were part of the group dropping off the petitions at the State Capitol. "We had to file our federal taxes jointly, then had to go back and file the federal taxes separately, without actually filing, to comply with Arizona tax law."
Puskar-Blakely says it's more than a matter of having to go through the process of filling out their returns twice. It also affects their ability to claim the mortgage-interest deduction, property tax deduction, and deduction for their two dependents. Since Arizona doesn't allow same-sex partners to adopt their spouse's children, they were both able to claim the girls as dependents on their federal tax return, but only Melanie – the girls' biological mother – could claim them on the state tax forms.
Some states where same-sex marriage is not yet legal nevertheless allow the state to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, including when it comes to the filing of income taxes.
PHOTO: Members of Why Marriage Matters Arizona drop off petitions at the reception desk for Gov. Jan Brewer's office at the Arizona Capitol.