Dozens Sound Off At Same-Sex Marriage Hearing
By Kimberly Foley. CREATED Nov 1, 2013
Lincoln, NE - The topic of gay marriage is bound to make a comeback in Nebraska next year.
After a series of historic rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court, state lawmakers could be working on legislation.
In June, the high court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. It was the section that kept same-sex couples from receiving the same federal benefits as married heterosexual couples.
In Nebraska, where gay marriage is not recognized, gay couples say it creates conflict.
"This bizarre situation is unsustainable," said Rev. Dr. Scott Jones, the senior minister at First Central Congregational Church in Omaha.
It's a situation that dozens of people and state lawmakers gathered to discuss in Lincoln on Friday.
For example, when it comes to filing taxes, a gay married couple will file a joint federal return.
On their Nebraska tax return, they will file "single."
"This conflict places an additional burden on same-sex married couples who will not only forfeit state marriage benefits, but will often pay additional costs in order to comply with state requirements," said Robin Maril, the legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign.
Jones said he is already confused.
"It's clear our tax filing will be complicated by Nebraska law and may force us to pay higher taxes, which is ironic in a state that values lower taxes," he said during his testimony.
Employee benefits like health insurance and social security are also affected.
Same-sex couples will not get social security benefits here because it looks to the laws of the state where the couple lives to determine if they are eligible.
State lawmakers listened to five hours of testimony on Friday.
As of right now, Sen. Brad Ashford's office said there are no other hearings on same-sex marriage planned.