Legislation introduced by openly gay New York Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell would allow married gay and lesbian couples to file joint state tax returns.

While lawmakers rejected a bill that would have legalized gay marriage in the nation's third most populous state last year, New York is moving ahead in recognizing legal gay marriages performed outside its borders. Neighboring Connecticut, Vermont and Canada offer the institution.

Under New York law, gay couples are forbidden from filing joint state tax returns because the state determines an individual's income tax filing status by his or her federal status.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service.

“This legislation will bring state tax law into compliance with the most current legal precedents,” O'Donnell said. “New York State must remove every statutory barrier to the full recognition of legal same-sex marriages. Gay and lesbian spouses deserve every financial benefit that currently accrues to heterosexual married couples regardless of whether or not the federal government recognizes those unions.”

The bill is expected to face a steep incline in the state Senate that blocked gay marriage from becoming law last year.

Maryland also recognizes out-of-state gay marriages, allowing couples to marry in nearby District of Columbia.