Conservative group claims harm from Missouri same-sex couples filing joint tax returns, seeks immediate injunction

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Conservative activist Kerry Messer, president of the Missouri Family Network, filed with a court seeking an immediate injunction against Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon Wednesday over an executive order allowing gay couples married in other states to file joint tax returns in the state.

Messer was joined by Don Hinkle, Justin Mosher, and Joseph Ortweth. The group is claiming that Nixon’s executive order violates the Missouri Constitution’s provision banning same-sex marriage, and is requesting a temporary restraining order on the state to bar them from accepting the joint fillings. They argue standing on the issue citing the fact that they are all taxpayers.

“Where the Executive overreaches or misinterprets the tax code in an executive order, and violates clear constitutional guarantees, taxpayers may properly turn to the judicial branch and state a cause of action challenging the order,” they argue.

In their filing, they argue that their “constitutional rights are being violated by the actions of the Governor,” and that the “status quo should be preserved” until a court make a decision. Messer and the group joining his lawsuit claim “immediate and irreparable harm” if same-sex couples are allowed to file taxes jointly.

A.J. Bockelman, executive director of PROMO, a statewide organization advocating for LGBT Missourians, said taxpayers are not being harmed by the state allowing same-sex couples to file joint tax returns.

“The only harm that I see is at the cost of the couples who have paid their taxes for years without having their relationship recognized. Other states, such as Kansas where they also have a constitutional amendment, but do not allow joint filing, will require couples to file a total of 5 returns between state and federal,” he said. “I fail to see how anyone is specifically harmed by a couple filing their taxes jointly.”

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