US: Widowed Pennsylvania woman sues state for not recognising her marriage for tax benefits

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A woman in the US state of Pennsylvania has sued the state after it refused to recognise her out-of-state marriage to her late wife.

Barbara Baus, a retired teacher is suing tax authorities in the state for refusing to recognise her marriage to her late partner of 15 years, Catherine C Burgi-Rios.

The couple married in Connecticut in 2011, and Burgi-Rios died a year later after being diagnosed with leukemia.

Baus challenges the almost $11,000 inheritance tax bill she received following her wife’s death, after the Department of Revenue rejected the claim she made as a surviving spouse.

She argues in the lawsuit that the refusal to recognise their marriage is inequality, as by adding a larger tax burden to gay couples, which violates Pennsylvania’s Constitution.

Baus said her battle was a small part in a larger struggle for same-sex marriage in the state.