The High Cost of Being a Gay Couple

In the ongoing debate over Gay Marriage, the argument is usually based in battle between “morality” and “equality.” Let’s add some economics to the equation.

Same-sex couple Ira Stier (L) and Waldo Gibson (R) exchange vows during their wedding ceremony October 15, 2008 at City Hall in San Francisco, California. Same-sex couples are rushing to get married before the November election in fear that anti-gay marriage initiative proposition 8 will pass and gay marriages will once again be illegal in California.

The NY Times has a story in today’s edition that examines the high  cost gay couples face compared with straight couples based on day to day living  From the story:

“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.

(more after the jump)

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.

Nearly all the extra costs that gay couples face would be erased if the federal government legalized same-sex marriage. One exception is the cost of having biological children, but we felt it was appropriate to include this given our goal of outlining every cost gay couples incur that heterosexual couples may not.”

Imagine if you will that we replace the word “gay” with the word “Latino” or “Asian” or “Irish” or “Catholic.”  What sort of moral outrage might emerge?

  6 comments for “The High Cost of Being a Gay Couple

  1. Charles Carroll
    October 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Utter bullshit. One of the so-called additional costs in the study is $40,000 for artificial insemination so that the couple can have children. Their scenario assumes an employee-subsidized health plan for heterosexual spouses and even a pension! I sure as hell am not expecting a pension, nor are most of the married heterosexuals I know.

  2. John
    October 3, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I suspect that the research is suspect.

    But even if it isn’t, there is a key difference: no one chooses their race. You can’t choose to be Asian or Latino or white. Michael Jackson tried it. It doesn’t work.

    But people have a choice as to whether they live a gay lifestyle or a heterosexual lifestyle. Even if some people don’t have this choice (i.e. they are born gay) there are still those who make this a choice.

  3. October 4, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Charles, your quite demented. Artificial insem. is kinda necessary if your a gay male couple wanting to reproduce. And that variable was necessary is a comparison to a straight couple with 2 children we’re to be fully accurate of incurred costs. A simple logics or critical thinking class will help you understand these complicated studies a little better.

    John, I suspect that even you suspect that your a backwards bigot who should not contribute to the human genome. Your logic is as flawed as your ridiculously ignorant view on the world.

  4. October 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm


    Charles and John would not know or understand the reality of the burdens faced by same gender couples no mater what facts are presented.

    John thinks we gays and lesbans choose to be discriminated against, if only we would conform to their “norms” of heterosesuality all would be right in the world.

    Charles would have no problem factoring in to the costs for heterosexual couples of artificial insemination, or adoption. Its just the homosexual couples he wouls have a problem with. Since those costs a disproportional to those of hetero couples, he thinks they shouldn’t be included.

  5. Charles Carroll
    October 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Steve, your name-calling and personal insults expose you as a hypocrite. If you had even a marginally sound point, I’d consider debating you. Also, please check the spelling of sentences in which you call others “backwards” before posting.

    And Chris, if they were comparing the costs of artificial insemination between heterosexual couples and gay couples, I think you’d probably break even. But the reason it costs more for gay couples to have children than it does the average straight couple is not the fault of bias within American society or some kind of governmental prejudice.

  6. Dan Chmielewski
    October 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Charles — Might I suggest you take issue with the reporting of the NY Times on this and might I suggest you concentrate less on cherry-picking a fact here and there and realize they reported a range of costs that affect gays and straights. Gay couples can’t file jointly, but straight marrieds can.

    Please refrain from profanity, or your future comments are going to get purged no matter how germaine they are to the post at hand.

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