Since the death of her partner, Susan Sontag, in 2004, Annie Leibovitz has been suffering the consequences of not having had the legal protections of a marriage. Much of Sontag's property was left to the renowned portrait photographer who is now paying a large inheritance tax, called the "gay tax" by After Ellen. According to federal law, when one partner in a married couple passes away, the widowed partner does not have to pay taxes on the property they inherit. Leibovitz does not benefit from those protections since her partnership was not legally recognized.
The Human Rights Campaign lists the more than 1,000 federal benefits enjoyed by married couples, many of which are health and money-related. Gay couples have, at best, state-level benefits depending on where they live.