Over a Lifetime, Being a Gay Couple Can Cost $470K Extra

Detailed analysis takes health insurance, taxes, other benefits into account
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2009 5:10 AM CDT
Star Trek legend George Takei with husband Brad Altman.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – An exhaustive analysis of the lifetime costs a committed gay couple faces compared to those of a heterosexual marriage finds that, in the worst case, the gay couple pays out nearly $470,000 extra. The study by the New York Times assumed the couples were together until one partner died, were college-educated and raised children. Some variables:

  • Health insurance: Nearly half—$212,000—of the worst-case price tag comes here, in that one partner isn’t covered by the other’s insurance, and had to buy coverage.
  • Estate taxes: Where heterosexual married couples can transfer assets without paying these taxes, same-sex couples, even married ones, get stuck with hefty bills.
  • Childbearing: Beside the costs of insemination, adoption or surrogacy, many gay couples choose to move to a state that allows the second partner to adopt the child.
  • Income tax: One area where gay couples benefit, because of the so-called marriage penalty. In the analysis’ worst case, the gay couple paid $15,000 less in taxes; in the best case, $112,000.