House Passes Bill to Give Gay Couples Retroactive Tax Refunds, Removes Traditional Terms

On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved the PRIDE Act, enabling legally married same-sex couples to request millions of dollars in tax refunds for unions not previously recognized by the IRS and removing terms such as husband and wife.

The PRIDE Act—or the Promoting Respect for Individuals’ Dignity and Equality Act—first introduced by Democratic representatives Judy Chu of California and Andy Levin of Michigan, replaces traditional, sex-specific terms in the federal tax code with spouses and married couple.

For years, same-sex couples were prohibited from filing joint tax returns under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA through the U.S. v. Windsor case. The IRS statute of limitations generally bars taxpayers from amending tax returns more than three years after they have been filed, but the PRIDE Act now permits gay couples in states that recognized same-sex marriage before DOMA to amend their filing status and apply for tax refunds for all the years in which they have been legally married.

The Pride Act passed the House by voice vote, meaning lawmakers were not required to put a vote on record. While it’s no surprise that Democrats unanimously supported the legislation, which further codifies gay marriage in federal law, it’s baffling why no Republicans opposed the passing of the bill.

“The most revealing thing about the PRIDE Act is that it passed unanimously,” Michael Brown, nationally syndicated talk show host and founder of the FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, told Decision. “Not one representative, not a single Republican, had the moral conviction to say, ‘No, I cannot agree with this in good conscience.’ Not one legislator had the courage to say, ‘I know the Supreme Court has redefined marriage, but I do not accept that redefinition, and I certainly see no need to go back in time to compensate same-sex couples.’ That is a picture of just how far we have fallen as a country and a culture.”

The Washington Blade reported that the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the payout could be as high as $67 million if the bill becomes law.

In a statement to Decision, Eagle Forum President Eunie Smith said: “By allowing couples who do not conform to traditional marriage roles, as between one man and one woman, to receive tax refunds from previous years during which same-sex marriage was illegal, the PRIDE Act reinforces the Left’s continuous need to promote victimhood and reparations for select people groups.

“This inevitably leads to the infringement of personal freedoms for those who disagree and do not affirm the ‘protected’ lifestyle or action. The fact that the House slyly passed this bill by voice vote also indicates that Republicans do not consider this movement dangerous. We must continue to fight this attack on our Constitution and the endowed rights it protects.”