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Calif. Tax Ruling Backs Gay Couples

November 3, 2000

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A lesbian who financially supports her stay-at-home partner and child can be classified as a head of household on state income taxes, a tax board ruled.

The state Board of Equalization on Wednesday upheld an earlier ruling that Helmi Hisserich could file as head of household, a tax classification mainly used by unmarried taxpayers supporting family members.

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.

She and her partner, Tori Patterson, have been together 14 years. Patterson gave birth to a daughter, conceived by artificial insemination, in 1997 and has stayed home to raise the child since then.

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

``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.

The board said it could not estimate how many couples might benefit from the new ruling.

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

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