JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Saying he sees a “clear violation,” of Gov. Jay Nixon’s constitutional authority as governor, Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, is seeking to file articles of impeachment against Nixon after the Democratic governor announced last week that he was directing the Department of Revenue to accept state joint-tax returns of same-sex couples married legally in another state but reporting income in Missouri.
Last summer the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued new rules stating that same-sex couples who were legally married could file joint Federal tax returns in response to the Defense of Marriage Act Supreme Court decision last spring. Missouri law requires that a married couple filing a joint Federal tax return must also file a joint state tax return. Nixon said that same-sex couples legally married in Illinois but reporting income in Missouri could, because of the new IRS rule, file joint Federal tax returns.
“As a result, accepting the jointly-filed state tax returns of all legally-married couples who file Federal returns is the only appropriate course of action, given Missouri statues and the ruling by the U.S. Department of Treasury.”
However, Marshall says that Missouri has defined marriage as between a man and a woman in at least two places and that Nixon cannot simply issue an executive order otherwise. In 2004, Missouri amended the constitution when voters approved a measure restricting marriage to a man and woman and current Missouri statute states that a “husband and wife,” filing jointly on the Federal level must also file jointly in the state.
RsMo. 141.031 states that: “A husband and wife who file a joint Federal income tax return shall file a combined return.” Marshall contends that because the statute specifies a husband and wife, Nixon was under no obligation to issue an executive order on the matter.
“I think the constitution in Missouri is very clear that to be valid and recognized, a marriage must be between a man and a woman,” Marshall said. “To me this issue has nothing to do with gay marriage, but whether or not an executive can simply issue a ruling that goes against the stated will of the voters and the language of the constitution.
Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster’s office issued a brief statement last week supporting Nixon’s decision and saying it did not appear to be a violation of Nixon’s authority. However, Marshall doesn’t agree with Koster’s assessment, and says he’ll continue to “listen to counsel,” on the matter before officially filing for impeachment.
“If I’m persuaded that the position I currently hold isn’t the correct one, then I won’t go forward with this,” Marshall said. “I’m not interested in doing this as some kind of political ploy. But if my position on this remains correct, then I consider it my duty to move forward with it.”
Gov. Nixon’s office did not immediately respond to requests for a comment on Marshall’s announcement.