Originally published on Advocate.com April 14 2004 12:00 AM ET
In the absence of marriage rights, gay and lesbian couples often pay more in taxes and receive less in federal benefits than other taxpayers, according to a new report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. As Congress considers an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would permanently deny marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the report shows how much more same-sex couples already pay in taxes and lose in benefits as a result of being denied the right to marry. It also shows
that same-sex parents are more likely to adopt than heterosexual parents, have high rates of stability despite being denied the right to marry, and are generally as likely as heterosexual couples to have one
parent staying at home with the children. "On this day when all of us are paying our taxes, it is very
clear that gay and lesbian Americans pay more for fewer benefits than any other families," said HRC president Cheryl Jacques. "Our families are taxed on health insurance for our partners, are unable to secure Social Security survivor benefits, and pay more federal income tax when one parent stays at home than married couples. Now the president and many in Congress want to tamper with the Constitution to make that kind of treatment permanent."
The report, titled "The Cost of Marriage Inequality to Children and their Same-Sex Parents," includes a comprehensive analysis of 2000 Census data about families headed by same-sex couples and an
estimate of the extra costs paid for health insurance, parenting-related federal income taxes, and lost Social Security survivor benefits. Among its findings: Same-sex couples pay more in federal income taxes than married couples when one parent stays at home but less when both work; when a gay or lesbian parent dies and leaves a young child behind, the loss of Social Security survivor benefits can be as much as $250,000; and same-sex couples with children are far less likely to have access to employer-sponsored health insurance for their families than married couples, and those who do pay hundreds of dollars more in taxes for it.