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Kansas seeks to dismiss lawsuit involving tax filing status of same-sex couples

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TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas Department of Revenue has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the tax filing status of same-sex married couples, saying the issue is now moot, according to a lawyer in the case.

David Brown, who represents two Kansas couples who filed a lawsuit against the department, told The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1KVKOg ) the motion was filed late Thursday in Shawnee County District Court. The motion follows the decision last month by the U.S. Supreme Court making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

The Revenue Department's motion Wednesday also came the day after Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office filed similar documents in a federal lawsuit in Kansas City, Kansas

"Practically speaking, the state's filing (Thursday) puts an end to my clients' nearly two-year fight for marriage equality," Brown said in an email. "I am happy that they now receive the recognition as married persons that other married couples have enjoyed."

In 2013, the department issued a notice that limited the ability to file joint tax returns only to married couples of the opposite sex, even if a same-sex couple had been legally married in another state. That was based on a Kansas constitutional amendment, adopted in 2005, that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman only.

The Department of Revenue said in its filing Wednesday that it rescinded that 2013 notice, which is now marked on the department's website as, "Removed — no longer valid."

As of Friday afternoon, Judge Frank Theis, who is hearing the case, had not issued an order of dismissal. But Brown said he expected one to be issued soon.

"Unfortunately, it should never have taken this long for the state to act appropriately," he said. "As I understand it, the state spent some $100,000 to fight what everyone recognized was a losing battle. In a time when Kansas can't raise funds necessary for critical services and education, it was sinful to allocate taxpayer funds to support the state's unlawful discrimination."


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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