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Federal Tax Ruling Could Mean Upswing In Gay Marriages In Washington

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

County officials who issue marriage licenses in Washington are gearing up for a possible influx of new applicants.

That's after Thursday's ruling by the Internal Revenue Service that gay marriage will be recognized across state lines for federal tax purposes. The new ruling means for the first time there will be a financial incentive for same-sex couples in Oregon or Idaho to cross over into Washington to get married.

Their marriage will be recognized by the IRS when it comes time to fill out their tax form. Washington doesn't require people getting married to be residents of the state.

But that's small consolation to gay rights groups in states that don't recognize same-sex marriage.

Amy Ruiz is with Oregon United for Marriage. She says gays and lesbians shouldn't have to cross state lines in order to get married.

"It's really unfair to ask people to leave their home in order to marry the person that they love," she says. "Everyone should have the ability to do that right where they live."

Ruiz's group is collecting signatures to try to get a measure on next year's ballot to overturn Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage.

Oregon does offer tax benefits to same-sex couples who enter domestic partnerships. Idaho offers no such status.

On the Web:

Announcement on same-sex marriages - US Department of the Treasury