The Federal Defense of Marriage Act not only treats same-sex couples as second-class, but also places extra financial burdens on these couples. Below is a post summarizing a recent report in the NYT on the price tag of LGBT marriage discrimination.
From Michael Jones at gayrights.change.org
"What's the price of not having equal rights? According to the New York Times
, it could be upwards of $467,000. That's how much the paper estimates a gay couple will pay -- in a worse case scenario -- over the span of their lifetimes for extra costs related to health care, legal affairs, and other issues. Huh, it sure is expensive to be denied the more than 1,100 benefits granted to straight married couples.
To figure this dollar amount out, the Times created a same-sex couple whose real life situation might mirror that of a straight couple. They looked at the three states with the largest LGBT populations - New York, California and Florida -- and merged data from those three states to determine annual gross incomes, and other various cost of living expenses. And not surprisingly, they found that being gay is expensive. Damn expensive, especially if you're a family.
The biggest expenses that gay couples face, at least in the Times' hypothetical picture, is in the areas of health care, social security and estate taxes. Health care is a crazy variable, because it's dependent on a person's employer, but in the worst case scenario gay couples pay more than $211,000 alone for health care than straight couples over the course of their lifetimes, a shocking figure to say the least.
Social Security is a big bust for gay couples, since the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. This lack of recognition means that gay couples don't receive a myriad of government benefits that straight couples receive.
And then there's the estate tax, which might be the most viscerally unfair example of how straight married couples have it pretty good when it comes to U.S. tax laws. Straight married couples can transfer an unlimited amount of assets to each other during their lives and at death without having to pay any sort of estate tax. Gay couples? Not so much. Same-sex couples have to shell out a boatload in federal estate taxes, at least if the estate passes an expense threshold. Granted, this really only effects very, very wealthy same-sex couples, but it's still an example of how unfair the U.S. tax system really is.
The statistics and information in the Times piece are pretty dense, but the bottom line is this: gay couples generally have to pay more throughout their lifetimes because same-sex marriage isn't legal in the U.S. If the federal government chose to recognize same-sex marriage, then all of these costs or penalties would evaporate. It's really as simple as that."