State tax ruling sets a precedent for gay parents

The Associated Press
Saturday November 04, 2000

Gay people who financially support their partner and their partner’s children can file as head of household on their state income taxes, under a ruling finalized by the state’s tax board. 

The state Board of Equalization Wednesday upheld an earlier ruling that a lesbian supporting her partner and the child they conceived through artificial insemination could file as head of household, although the status was previously used by unmarried taxpayers supporting family members. 

Helmi Hisserich, a 37-year-old economic development consultant from Los Angeles, pursued the issue for three years after she was denied the filing status by the Franchise Tax Board. 

“This sounds corny, but I’m really a good citizen who contributes to society, and I felt I was really being wronged by the tax system,” Hisserich said. 

Two of the five board members issued dissenting opinions that said a ruling favorable to Hisserich and her partner, Tori Patterson, had no basis in tax law and would promote policies that discourage marriage and legal adoption. 

The ruling will save Hisserich about $1,000 a year in state taxes. 

It is unknown how many people will be affected by the rulng, said officials at the Board of Equalization.