Same-Sex Marriage - by Evan Branigan

On June 26, 2015, The U.S. Supreme Court held that the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples under the United State Constitution. This decision abrogates the Colorado Constitution’s prohibition on same-sex marriage which was passed by voters in 2006.

 Boulder’s County Clerk and Recorder, Hillary Hall, began issuing same sex marriage licenses the same day the decision was announced.  http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_28387332/. It’s unclear whether every county in Colorado is already issuing issue same sex marriage licenses—but they are all required to under the Supreme Court’s Obergfell v. Hodges decision.

The Colorado Legislature created Civil Unions in 2014, which confer most—but not all benefits of marital status—on any two Coloradoans who choose to enter a Civil Union. Same sex and opposite sex couples are eligible. One important difference between civil unions and marriage is that the IRS does not consider parties to a civil union as married.  Generally speaking, marriage provides federal tax benefits to some couples and penalizes others. To see whether marital status would reduce your tax bill, the Tax Policy Center has a convenient calculator here: http://taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/marriagepenaltycalculator.cfm.

For some couples, marital status would result in higher federal taxes every year. Such couples may consider entering into a civil union rather than a marriage. That arrangement could save significant money over the course of a marriage. As with all family issues, couples should carefully consider the many benefits and drawbacks before entering into a marriage or civil union. This blog cannot cover every possible ramification but we encourage you to contact us to set up an initial consultation where we can review your options.