Editorial: Todd’s steps to progress
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Jul 08, 2013 | 2136 views |  0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this 2013 file photo, state Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Jefferson County at the Madison County Democratic Headquarters in Huntsville. Photo: Bob Gathany, AL.com/The Associated Press
In this 2013 file photo, state Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Jefferson County at the Madison County Democratic Headquarters in Huntsville. Photo: Bob Gathany, AL.com/The Associated Press
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Patricia Todd has a plan.

The Alabama Legislature’s only openly gay lawmaker is preparing to take on the state’s ban on gay marriages.

Step 1 is for she and her partner to marry in one of the dozen or so states where same-sex marriage is legal.

Step 2 is for the newlyweds to return to Alabama with their marriage license.

Step 3 comes at tax time. The couple will jointly file their federal and state income tax returns in 2014.

Step 4 is when Todd encourages other same-sex couples in Alabama to do the same.

Step 5 depends on how bureaucrats in the tax division react. “I’d like to see what happens,” Todd told The Star.

Tax officials in both Montgomery and Washington aren’t equipped to spend much time checking on the legal status of joint-filers. It’s generally assumed if you say you’re hitched, then you are indeed hitched.

However, it seems likely that this matter will put gay marriage right back in the courts.

Patricia Cain, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California, predicts litigation is on its way. “We’ll see a wave of suits from red states,” Cain said. “You can’t stop people from saying, ‘Hey, I want my rights, too.’ ”

The entire exercise illustrates how last month’s Supreme Court ruling was likely only a placeholder for a more sweeping decision. It also points out what’s a stake — basic equal treatment among two parties joining into a contract together. That’s what a state-issued marriage certificate is. It’s not a religious ceremony. It’s a contract outlining responsibilities and privileges of two people.
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