Missouri governor facing impeachment over order allowing same-sex marriage tax returns
A member of the Missouri House of Representatives has filed articles of impeachment against Governor Jay Nixon (D) for ordering Missouri’s Department of Revenue to accept joint tax returns filed by same-sex couples who have been legally married in other states.
According to Missourinet, Representative Nick Marshall (R-Parkville) has filed two articles of impeachment charging that Gov. Nixon issued an executive order that is a “direct violation” of Missouri’s Constitution. Further, Marshall says Nixon “misstates and misrepresents the meaning and requirements under Missouri’s constitutional and statutory law and thereby misleads the citizens of this state.”
In November of last year, Gov. Nixon issued an executive order stating that Missouri must accept such joint returns because Missouri’s tax code is tied directly to the federal government, and the state requires married couples who file joint returns to also file state taxes jointly. The office of Attorney General Chris Koster (D) has stated that Nixon’s order appears to comply with Missouri law.
Marshall, in his filing, alleges that Nixon’s order was based upon “a knowing omission of key statutory language.”
A section of the Missouri tax code that defines terms reads that terms used shall have the same meaning as when they appear in federal tax code. Rep. Marshall seized upon an additional phrase which states “unless a different meaning is clearly required by the provisions of” the Missouri tax code.
“Missouri law says a husband and wife who file a joint federal tax return shall file a combined return here in he state of Missouri,’ Marshall said. “The condition precedent for that is that they are husband and wife, and you have to ask yourself, ‘Well, how do you define husband and wife?’ You may not use the federal definition. That’s not allowed because Missouri’s Constitution does not allow you to recognize same-sex marriage.”
In 2004, Missouri voters approved Constitutional Amendment 2 which changed the definition of marriage in the state constitution as being between a man and a woman.
Marshall says that, while he is opposed to same-sex marriage, his action has nothing to do with his stance on the issue.
“My position on same-sex marriage is irrelevant. The governor’s position on same-sex marriage should be irrelevant,” he explained. “What is extremely relevant is the limitation on the powers of the Governor of the State of Missouri. He has no more right to ignore the Constitution than I do.”
The articles of impeachment, which must first be referred to a committee where, if passed, would then move on to the House, have been co-signed by seven Republican members of the House: Ron Schieber, Ken Wilson, Jeff Pogue, Kurt Bahr, Mike Moon, Rick Brattin & T.J. Berry.