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Mayor Mike McGinn left office on January 1, 2014.
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City of Seattle

September 3, 11:42 AM click here to comment > 0

Good news for LGBTQ City employees

Last week the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that all same-sex married couples will receive equal treatment under the tax code, regardless of whether their marriage is recognized in the state they reside in. This is great news for married couples in our community who have shouldered significant tax burdens that opposite-sex married couples do not face. For example, City of Seattle employees have been unfairly taxed on the health benefits we offer to their same-sex spouses and their children, potentially costing couples thousands of dollars a year.

With this new direction from the IRS, our Personnel Department is already working with Payroll to figure out the quickest way to stop taxing. They will also provide detailed information on how to file a claim for a refund from the IRS as soon as that information becomes available.

When we announced a little over a year ago that the City was joining an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of the federal “Defense of Marriage Act”, I never expected that we would come so far so fast. In the past year our state and others across the nation voted in marriage equality. The president of the United States declared his support for same-sex marriage rights for the first time. The U.S. military ended the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. DOMA was struck down. Proposition 8 in California was struck down. And now even our tax code is catching up with the rising tide of equality.

Of course we have a long way to go. LGBTQ people at home in our community still face discrimination and even violence for being who they are. In many places in the world, things are getting worse for LGBTQ people, not better. There is a lot of work ahead of us. But I’d like to take this moment to honor the hard work of LGBTQ activists and their allies who have brought us so far on the road to equality in such a short period of time.

Now let’s get back to work.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn