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Woman fighting inheritance tax for same-sex couple in court today

Updated: Wednesday, October 30 2013, 06:19 PM CDT
Reported by: Chris Papst

HARRISBURG -- A woman in a same-sex relationship who is being forced to pay inheritance tax after her partner passed away was in court today, saying she should have the same rights as legally married couples.

Same-sex marriage was outlawed in Pennsylvania in 1996. There are currently challenges to that statute, and now you can add Nancy Nixon to that list. 

"I'm really pleased to have this opportunity. We've been watching all the changes and here it comes down to something that is affecting me and I have a chance to be a part of it," Nixon said.

Nixon emerged from her hearing today at the Department of Revenue with confidence.

Over the past few years, America has changed in how gay marriage is viewed.  Fourteen states now offer same sex marriage, but not Pennsylvania.  Nixon feels her case may help change that.

"We were married to each other in every other way except legally,” said Nixon. 
In April of 2012, Nixon’s partner of 30 years, Jeanne Schwartz died of cancer. Now the 68-year-old Nixon is being forced to pay 15 percent, or $21,000, in inheritance tax -- a tax that a legally married, heterosexual couple would not have to pay.
She says that’s wrong, and the U.S. Supreme Court appears to be on her side. Back in June, it overturned parts of the Defense of Marriage Act which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples. "I'm not going to have to pay it. I'm not going to have to pay it. I'm going to keep going with this and we will win at some level,” Nixon vowed. 
Michael Geer with the PA Family Institute gave CBS 21 this statement: “We have a long opposed the inheritance tax and think it is unfair and unjust. We don’t have to redefine the institute of marriage to do so.”
Nixon expects a decision in the next 60 days. She and her attorney anticipate being denied, and if they are, they plan to take their case to the court of common pleas.
Woman fighting inheritance tax for same-sex couple in court today

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