Friday, October 2, 2009

The Economic Argument for Same-sex Marriage

In its online edition today, The New York Times published the results of an in-depth study of the real costs of being a gay couple.

In  the "Your Money" column, the Times illustrates "best case" and "worst case" scenarios showing that the lifetime cost of being in a committed same-sex relationship could cost from $41,196 (best case) to $467,5622 (worst case) more than heterosexual married couples with the same income and lifestyle.

The study took into account such factors as Social Security Survivor Benefits, Estate Taxes, Having a Child, Pension Income, Spousal IRA's, Tax Preparation, Financial Planning and Income Taxes.
"Our goal was to create a hypothetical gay couple whose situation would be similar to a heterosexual couple’s. So we gave the couple two children and assumed that one partner would stay home for five years to take care of them. We also considered the taxes in the three states that have the highest estimated gay populations — New York, California and Florida. We gave our couple an income of $140,000, which is about the average income in those three states for unmarried same-sex partners who are college-educated, 30 to 40 years old and raising children under the age of 18.

Here is what we came up with. 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."
The Times concludes that all of these added expenses, except having children, would be eliminated if same-sex marriage were legal in all 50 states and federally recognized.

Read the full article here.
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