If you're gay and married, there's good and bad news ahead on the income tax front. The federal government just announced that same-sex couples wed in a state where such marriages are legal can now file returns as a married couple, even if they live in a state where such marriages are not recognized. In fact, not only "can" these couples file as married, they must.

That's bad news if both partners make about equal income: They'll likely pay more, thanks to the "marriage penalty." Taxes of couples in which one partner makes a lot more than the other will drop. And these couples can (but don't have to) file amended returns for past years. This is the right step for the IRS. Other agencies -- such as the Social Security Administration, which is only recognizing marriages if couples reside in a same-sex marriage state -- should follow.