Tax break. The Internal Revenue Service will allow same-sex married couples to file joint tax returns next year, even if they live in states that don’t recognize their unions. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement that the move “assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.” The ruling does not apply to couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples who have been married for at least three years will have the option of filing amended tax returns for that time period. Advocates for traditional marriage say the new rule puts tremendous pressure on states to conform to federal law. “This action continues a pattern of lawlessness across the nation where administrators and clerks have taken it upon themselves to interpret and re-write laws as they pertain to marriage,” the National Organization for Marriage said in a statement. “Only the legislative branches of the federal or state governments enact or rewrite the law.”
No vote. British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a key vote in Parliament yesterday that would have authorized the government to take military action against Syria over a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,300. With Britain now sitting on the sidelines, President Barack Obama must decide whether to move forward with just one traditional European partner—France. British lawmakers who opposed Cameron’s request for a military authorization said they weren’t opposed to taking action, in principle, but weren’t convinced it was the best course of action in this case. U.S. lawmakers echoed similar concerns in a letter to the president penned yesterday. One hundred and forty members of Congress, including 21 Democrats, urged Obama to seek congressional approval before launching any attack against Syrian positions. The Obama administration has said it would release a declassified report later today detailing evidence proving Bashar al-Assad’s military, not Syria’s rebel fighters, launched the deadly attack.
Negotiations canceled. The North Korean government earlier today rescinded an invitation for American envoy Bob King to fly into Pyongyang to negotiate for a jailed American’s release. King was set to arrive in the communist nation’s capital later today from Tokyo. He hoped to fly back out of the country with Korean-American Kenneth Bae on Saturday. In April, North Korea’s highest court sentenced Bae, a Christian missionary and tour guide, to 15 years hard labor for plotting to overthrow the government. His detention has so far lasted longer than any of the six Americans jailed in the country during the last few years. High-profile American envoys secured freedom for all of them. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the government is “surprised and disappointed” by North Korea’s decision and is seeking clarification in hopes of rescheduling King’s trip.
Schooling by force. German officials surprised a homeschooling family with an early morning raid yesterday, forcibly removing four children because their parents chose to teach them at home. Homeschooling is not allowed in Germany, where all children must go to state-run public or state-approved private schools. A court gave the state custody of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich’s children last year, but legal challenges delayed enforcement. According to court documents, state officials do not allege neglect or even educational deficiencies. Their only complaint is that the children do not go to an approved school. Yesterday’s raid comes as the U.S. government is attempting to deport another German family seeking asylum because they cannot homeschool in their native land. The Romeikes, represented by lawyers from the Home School Legal Defense Association, have appealed their deportation order to the U.S. Supreme Court. They say their children face a similar fate if they are forced to return to Germany.