DOMA QUESTIONS: Governor Ends Silence

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad offered his first public words Monday following last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA. The court narrowly ruled the federal government’s ban on providing benefits to only heterosexual married couples was unconstitutional to same-sex couples.

Branstad said, “We’re going to live with the law and make whatever adjustments necessary.”

Branstad said he continues to support a statewide vote that could bring a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. Iowa is one of 13 states that allows marriages between members of the same sex. The governor said, “I’ve always felt the people of Iowa should have the opportunity to vote on that issue.”

The governor also said the department of revenue is still studying the tax implications from the court’s ruling. Currently, Iowa same-sex couples file state taxes as a married couple but have to file federal couples as single people. That complicates issues when children and insurance are involved.

Matty Smith, a spokesman for the gay-rights group, One Iowa, said the organization is getting numerous questions from couples with questions about taxes and benefits. He said the group plans to put together educational seminars of some sort to help people understand the ruling, once its legal advisers can figure it out.

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