PhotoWe don't want to be the cause of any wedding bell blues but all the gay newlyweds in New York State need to keep in mind that the state's new same-sex marriage law doesn't cut much wedding cake come tax time.

While New York and a growing number of smaller states now recognize gay marriage, the Internal Revenue Service does not, thanks to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits all federal agencies from recognizing same-sex marriages.

That means that same-sex couples are likely to face higher tax bills for health care, harsher estate-tax treatment and higher tax preparation costs.

This apparent inequity drew little attention when only a handful of relatively small states allowed gay marriage. But New York is not only the nation's third-most-populous state, it's also home to many of the richest, most influential and most litigious gay Americans.

After all, in a time when most state legislatures can't agree on whether or not to turn the lights on when it gets dark, New York's lawmakers and governor put up little resistance to legalizing same-sex marriage, thanks to a well-organized and very well-financed lobbying effort by the gay community.

This influential group is not likely to return meekly to the closet when it's time to cough up the annual tax payment. Count on some skillful use of the GOP's anti-tax rhetoric when New York's gay community takes the tax fight to Capitol Hill – and when the Obama Campaign's fundraisers come calling.

Health care

Perhaps the biggest inequity gay couples currently face involves company-paid health benefits. With many large employers paying for family health insurance for all married employees, those in same-sex marriages find themselves having to pay additional income tax on the benefits provided to their same-sex partners.

Some businesses now offer to reimburse employees for the additional tax they incur on such benefits but that raises the question of whether the reimbursement is taxable as income.

Of particular interest to affluent gay couples is the estate tax – or the "death tax," as the Tea Party and GOP call it. Currently, a heterosexual spouse can inherit money and property from a deceased marriage partner without tax penalties if the estate is under $5 million. Any amount over that is taxed at up to the top rate of 35 percent.  

Gay couples receive no such benefits and any assets left by one homosexual partner to another are subject to full taxation.  The "taxation without representation" argument is older than the United States and -- except for its feudal treatment of the District of Columbia -- is one that Congress finds difficult to resist.  

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