JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday he will issue an executive order to the state's Department of Revenue to accept tax returns from all couples, including same-sex marriages.
Under the order, the Dept. of Revenue must accept all jointly-filed state tax returns from married couples. That will include same-sex couples married in other states, who file federal tax returns.
In August, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service stated all legally married same-sex couples would be treated as married for federal tax purposes, regardless of where the couple currently lives.
Since Missouri's tax code is tied to the federal government, all married couples who file tax returns to the IRS, must file joint state returns to the Dept. of Revenue.
The governor said the executive order only applies to tax filing. The order does not authorize same-sex marriage in the state.
Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage in 2004.
Speaking at a news conference, Nixon also said he believes that if "folks want to get married, they should be able to get married."
According to PROMO, an advocacy group promoting equal treatment for gay and lesbian Missourians, the Show-Me State is so far the only state that does not recognize marriages of same-sex couples to still grant couples the ability to file jointly as married.
Colorado and Oregon have also issued similar instructions to their revenue departments, however, Colorado has state civil unions and Oregon recognizes out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples.
Following the announcement, Republican Speaker of the House Time Jones released a statement, condemning Nixon's action.
"Once again, Governor Nixon is trying to play to all sides of every issue, indulging his liberal ideals while hedging his bets by saying the courts have forced his hand," said Jones. "The Governor's job is to defend our state's constitution – including the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, that was passed overwhelmingly in this state - not to surrender to the whims of the Obama administration."