Robert D. Mueller - Page 6

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            Supp. 958 (N.D. Ind. 1976), affd. per curiam sub nom. Barter v.                            
            United States, 550 F.2d 1239 (7th Cir. 1977).                                              
                  Petitioner seeks to add a new gloss to these old challenges                          
            by identifying singles who share assets and income (whom he                                
            labels “economic partners”) as a distinct class of taxpayers                               
            disadvantaged by marital classifications.  For the reasons set                             
            forth below, we hold the tax code’s distinctions between married                           
            taxpayers and unmarried economic partners to be constitutionally                           
                  In evaluating whether a statutory classification violates                            
            equal protection, we generally apply a rational basis standard.                            
            See Regan v. Taxation With Representation, 461 U.S. 540, 547                               
            (1983).  We apply a higher standard of review only if it is found                          
            that the statute (1) impermissibly interferes with the exercise                            
            of a fundamental right or (2) employs a suspect classification,                            
            such as race.  See, e.g., id.; Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 322                          
            (1980).  Neither of these exceptions applies.                                              
                  Petitioner does not directly identify any fundamental right                          
            impeded by the use of marital classifications in the tax code.                             
            Petitioner cites commentary addressing the right to marry.                                 
            However, a law is considered to burden the right to marry only                             
            where the obstacle to marriage imposed by the law operates to                              
            preclude marriage entirely for a certain class of persons.  See                            
            DeMars v. Commissioner, supra at 250.  The classifications at                              

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