Michael Crawford

NYT: The High Price of Being a Gay Couple

Filed By Michael Crawford | October 05, 2009 12:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement

For many of us, the emotional and human costs of being denied the freedom to marry are clear. The moments that matter most are fraught with additional worries including difficulties in visiting one another on the hospital, the worry about what happens when we get old or when one of us dies, childcare and adoption, and bi-national couples forced to live apart for long periods or move from the United States.

The New York Times has a fascinating article outlining the financial discrimination that same-sex couples face by being denied the right to marry.

In our worst case, the couple's lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562. But the number fell to $41,196 in the best case for a couple with significantly better health insurance, plus lower taxes and other costs. These numbers will vary, depending on a couple's income and circumstance.

Gay couples earning, say, $80,000, could have health insurance costs similar to our hypothetical higher-earning couple, but they might well owe more in income taxes than their heterosexual counterparts. For wealthy couples with a lot of assets, on the other hand, the cost of being gay could easily spiral into the millions.

As Andrew Sullivan rightly pointed out, "It affects human beings now in ways no heterosexual would tolerate - or even imagining tolerating - if it were affecting them."

Yet, we are expected to accept such blatant discrimination that is harming us and our families.

The gay couples profiled in this piece were middle class, but step back for a moment and think about how much harder the financial impact is on poor and working class gay families. Working families have fewer financial resources to begin with so the burden hits them even harder.

Reading this article made me angry and even more committed to ending marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian families. You should be angry too.

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