What I lose economically by living in a state that will not recognize my marriage

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As I’ve said, Marianne and I live in North Carolina, a state which neither legally allow same-gender marriage nor recognizes same-gender marriages performed in other states. The New York Times currently has a “Bucks” blog called “The Cost of Being Gay.”

Because New York state recently started marrying same gender couples (they had already recognized civil unions performed in other states), the Times did a piece in June on all the state benefits those couples would now receive. Looking at it from my perspective, these are all the things I lose because North Carolina does not recognize my marriage.

  • Filing joint income tax and taking advantage of a so-called “marriage credit;”
  • Health insurance tax breaks. At my job, Marianne is eligible to be covered under my health insurance, but I am taxed on the value of her benefits because we are not recognized as an “economic unit,” unlike opposite-gender couples;
  • Parentage (either by birth or adoption). North Carolina does not allow what’s called Second-Parent Adoption, so if Marianne and I ever decide to adopt, only one of us can be legally recognized as the parent. Being recognized as a legal parent to a child from the start is important, especially when it comes to making medical decisions on behalf of the child and adding the child to my health insurance;
  • Worker’s Compensation benefits. God forbid something happen to either me or Marianne at work, but if it did we would not be eligible for the other’s worker’s compensation benefits or to be able to sue for wrongful death;
  • Defeat of DOMA. If, ultimately, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) gets struck down it may put us in an awkward situation for a bit where we could take advantage of federal benefits but not state ones.

All hope is not lost. Other “Cost of Being Gay” blogs cover private companies doing what they can to help same-gender couples out economically where they can. That’s not to say companies are trying to advantage same-gender couples over other couples, just trying to make things economically fair.

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