We all know the human and civil cost of America's war on gay couples. From heart-breaking medical stories like this recent one, to tearing bi-national couples apart, to stripping the spouse of any death benefits for their partner and sometimes throwing them out of their formerly shared home, to the constant threat that your children could be taken from you ... and on and on. But there is also the financial discrimination against us, and this morning's NYT really does a good job, for the first time in analyzing it. Money quote:
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 effect of these policies is to encourage gay people not to form stable, lasting relationships (relationships that have been shown to increase people's health, happiness and productiveness). It is to exact a communal price on anyone who actually does embrace the responsibility of marriage, in the face of government discrimination and constant abuse from the Christianist right.
I wish people could understand that this is not an abstract issue. It affects human beings now in ways no heterosexual would tolerate - or even imagining tolerating - if it were affecting them. Read the whole thing, especially if you're straight. Try for a moment to put your family and your spouse in the same boat. Now consider the charge that we are asking for "special rights."
And get angrier.
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