Federal Court Upholds IRS’ Denial of Gay Man’s Medical Expense Deduction for In Vitro Fertilization Expenses

Senior U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara held in Morrissey v. United States, 2016 WL 8198717 (M.D. Fla., Dec. 22, 2016), that a gay man’s costs associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) were not deductible medical expenses under the Internal Revenue Code, and that the denial of such deduction did not violate the man’s due process and equal protection rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Joseph F. Morrissey, the plaintiff in the case, sought the tax deduction after he and his committed partner of many years incurred substantial medical expenses while conceiving twins through IVF. Morrissey, who happens to be a constitutional law professor at Stetson University College of Law, argued in his complaint that “to deny Plaintiff the tax deduction given to heterosexual couples who incur medical expenses to conceive a child” unconstitutionally discriminates against gay couples. Morrissey plans to appeal this ruling to the 11th Circuit.

Morrissey and his partner began the journey towards parenthood back in 2011. They experienced many setbacks along the way. After nearly four years, three surrogates, three egg donors, and a miscarriage, Morrissey and his partner’s twin boys were finally born in the summer of 2014. In the end, Morrissey has expended over one hundred thousand dollars in this effort.

For the full story, access the March 2017 issue of LGBT Law Notes.