A provision in New York's spending bill
that sought to allow married gay and lesbian couples to file joint
state tax returns was dropped Tuesday after Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.
objected to its inclusion and threatened to vote against the measure.
Diaz became the face opposition in the
Senate to last year's bill that would have legalized gay marriage in
the Empire State. While the bill died in the Senate, New York is
moving ahead in recognizing legal gay marriages performed outside its
borders. Neighboring Connecticut, Vermont and Canada offer the
The provision – introduced by openly
gay New York Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell in the Assembly – would
have removed a barrier that forbids married gay couples from filing
jointly because New York determines an individual's income tax filing
status by his or her federal status. Federal agencies, including the
IRS, are barred from recognizing a gay or lesbian couple's marriage
due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law that
defines marriage as a heterosexual union.
Diaz, a Pentecostal minister, told the
New York Daily News that he was not “comfortable” with the
legislation. Lawmakers removed the tax provision after Diaz
threatened to vote with Republicans against the bill.