MADISON (WKOW) -- As the battle over same-sex marriage rights takes a new turn in Wisconsin, the mayor of Minnesota's biggest city is encouraging gay and lesbian couples to get married there.
Its an ad campaign that specifically seeks to take advantage of Wisconsin's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
"This is an amazing state," said Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak. "But Wisconsin right now does not have one thing that we have in Minnesota and that is equal rights."
Mayor Rybak's administration is spending thousands of dollars to make sure his city brings in millions from Wisconsin's LGBT community. He made his pitch in Madison Monday afternoon in a joint news conference with Mayor Paul Soglin and Katie Belanger, Executive Director of Fair Wisconsin.
"We are openly welcoming all same-sex couples to come on up to Minneapolis and get married. We have operators standing by at Meet Minneapolis, our convention and visitors association, we have a special website for that," said Rybak.
While those married couples could stay living in Wisconsin and take advantage of over one thousand federal benefits that straight married couples enjoy, they still won't be able to file a joint state tax return.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue made that clear late last week by ruling that, because of the state's ban on gay marriage, Wisconsin's same-sex couples will still have to file individual state tax returns.
"I think it really highlights how our government's hands are tied by the constitutional ban that we have," said Belanger. "They're really limited in terms of the scope of the decisions that they can do to recognize same-sex couples."
And that's not the only concern Wisconsin's same-sex couples currently face. Around 2,000 people who have joined the state's Domestic Partnership Registry are seeing their benefits legally challenged for a third time by the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action.
"Me and my partner have a domestic partnership, have had one for three years," said Steve Starkey, Executive Director of LGBT Outreach of Madison. "So, I'm more concerned about that than I am about marrying in another state and whether that's legal or not."
Two lower courts have struck down the same challenge from Wisconsin Family Action, but the group filed another brief on August 12th directly asking the State Supreme Court to strike down the Domestic Partnership Registry. WFA argues that it violates the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
MADISON (WKOW) – Minneapolis' Mayor will be in Madison on Monday to encourage same-sex couples to get married in Minnesota.
It's part of the "I want to marry you in Minneapolis" campaign with ads running in Chicago, Colorado and Wisconsin.
Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak will visit Madison to let LGBT couples know about his city's wedding planning services. He personally officiated dozens of same-sex weddings the day the law went into effect August 1.
Mayor Rybak's visit comes just a few days after the Wisconsin Department of Revenue issued a guidance to tax professionals saying that legally-married gay couples will not be allowed to file joint state tax returns.
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key portions of the Defense of Marriage Act this summer, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it will allow legally married same-sex couples to file joint federal tax returns. That applies even if the married couple lives in a state that does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages, such as Wisconsin.
Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2006 and the Department of Revenue is citing that as the reason it cannot legally allow same-sex couples to file joint state tax returns.
Same-sex individuals who file a joint federal income tax return will be required to complete a new Wisconsin tax form, Schedule S. The new form will show the amount of income as reported on the federal return for each individual and determine the federal adjusted gross income to be used for Wisconsin tax purposes. Wisconsin marital property law will not apply.
Schedule S will be available online at revenue.wi.gov by September 30, 2013.
Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have more on this story on 27 News at 5 and 6.
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