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Thread: The high price gays pay for lack of (financial) rights

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Thumbs down The high price gays pay for lack of (financial) rights

    Poets swoon about it and singers croon about it, but LGBT people can calculate the cost of love down to the last penny. In my household it comes to around $329.25 monthly: that's the gay tax my wife and I shell out for me to be on her health insurance plan, because her company must treat that benefit as additional taxable income. It doesn't matter that our Massachusetts marriage is recognized in New York. Companies pay for their employees' health insurance with pre-tax money through a federal program, and same-sex marriage isn't federally recognized.


    But that's chump change compared to what love is currently costing celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. Back in late February the NYT noted that Leibovitz had borrowed a total of $15.5 million from a company called Art Capital Group using "as collateral, among other items town houses she owns in Greenwich Village, a country house, and something else: the rights to all of her photographs."

    But what the NYT missed, along with every other straight newspaper that picked up the story, is why Leibovitz suddenly found herself in such dire financial straits. It took AfterEllen's Julie Miranda to put two and two together and figure out that "most of Leibovitz' financial woes stemmed from her inheritance of her longtime partner, Susan Sontag's estate." Writes Miranda (who, in turn, is channeling Suze Orman's Valentine's Wish for Gay Marriage):


    "Same-sex couples do not have the same privileges as straight married couples when it comes to inheritance. If your partner passes away and leaves her estate to you, you have to pay up to 50 percent of the value of your inheritance in taxes. However, if you and your partner were recognized as a married couple, you wouldn't have to pay a dime...When Sontag died in 2004, she bequeathed several properties to Leibovitz, who was forced to pony up half of their value to keep them."


    Will this profoundly unfair issue be challenged now that attention's being drawn to it by the situations of couples like Sontag and Leibovitz who are far higher-profile than me and my gal? We're about to get a shot at finding out. As my Broadsheet colleague Judy Berman reported on Tuesday, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders filed suit earlier this week on behalf of same-sex couples who have tied the knot in states that have marriage equality, seeking to challenge their blocked access to federal benefits. The plaintiffs include Dean Hara, spouse of the late Rep. Gerry Studds. But even with the spectacle of a U.S. Congressman's widower being denied Social Security benefits, the case isn't a slam dunk, since its slingshot is aimed at the big federal law that institutionalized this discrimination: the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. It's likely to face a long slog up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Until then, there's a high price on our heads, dead or alive.

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    Silver Member chattykathy's Avatar
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    So, does this high tax apply to anyone that bequeths stuff to someone not directly related to them? Sounds like the law itself needs to be fixed, it would effect more people than just same sex couples.
    ""Somebody needs to talk to Alex Castellanos: he may not be doing sex right if he thinks an Obama speech is 'like sex'."~ Rush Limbaugh

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Cry me a river. I have to pay $630.00 a month for health insurance. While my husband only pays $14.00 a week.

    I will stand by gays on a lot of issues, but they aren't the only one's hurting in the insurance department.

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    Cry me a river. I have to pay $630.00 a month for health insurance. While my husband only pays $14.00 a week.

    I will stand by gays on a lot of issues, but they aren't the only one's hurting in the insurance department.
    The problem gays have is not when it applies to everyone equally, but when specifically gays are not included. ok(no matter what this article is about..that is the real question..inequality) As in two jobs, same job, straight guy married pays $100.00 extra for his wife of ten years, while Gay coupled guy pays $500.00 extra for his partner in civil union of 15 years, or cannot get him on the coverage at all. It is not the cost, it is the unfairness and inequality that gets to gays.
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    Elite Member sparkly's Avatar
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    I'm tired of gays and lesbians being treated like 2nd class citizens! Until the ban on gay marriage is lifted, there will be no true separation between church and state, because the sole reason for the intolerance is purely religious. Fuck fundies and they're hatred! They just hide behind the bible as an excuse to be prejudiced against everyone who does not believe or live exactly as they do.

    I get madder than my gay friends do sometimes. They're like, "Whoa, come down, it's gonna be alright." lol
    It just hurts me to the core of my being to see beautiful human beings being treated like fucking dogs for something that is beyond their control. IT IS BULLSHIT and I'm tired of it.

    Rant over.
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sojiita View Post
    The problem gays have is not when it applies to everyone equally, but when specifically gays are not included. ok(no matter what this article is about..that is the real question..inequality) As in two jobs, same job, straight guy married pays $100.00 extra for his wife of ten years, while Gay coupled guy pays $500.00 extra for his partner in civil union of 15 years, or cannot get him on the coverage at all. It is not the cost, it is the unfairness and inequality that gets to gays.
    Okay, I see. That is wrong.

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    Okay, I see. That is wrong.
    I can see why you are pissed about insurance though. $630.00 a month is outrageous. I would KILL for $14.00 a month! Of course I am not even offered any insurance through work, so I am one of the 50 million or so Americans without any health insurance whatsoever. *pissed*
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    He pays $14.00 a week ($56.00 per month). I don't have insurance either. I can't swing $630.00 a month. It scares me after the Mr's serious injury 2 weeks ago.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    *shakes his head at you yanks*
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    Why aren't you on his insurance? I carry the insurance in this house and it includes all three of us.
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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    He pays $14.00 a week ($56.00 per month). I don't have insurance either. I can't swing $630.00 a month. It scares me after the Mr's serious injury 2 weeks ago.
    It sucks, doesn't it? You always have this low level fear of injury or illness lingering in the back of your mind, and the financially devastating effects that would have.

    Also just made a Dr. appt. (just for one medication refill, for a seizure disorder)for next Tuesday, and it will be a $110.00 upfront payment from me, just for that.
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    Silver Member chattykathy's Avatar
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    We don't have coverage either, it is insane what they want to charge for "minimum coverage". If someone is paying the highway robbery that is insurance, they should be able to put anyone on it, even if it is the homeless guy down the street.
    ""Somebody needs to talk to Alex Castellanos: he may not be doing sex right if he thinks an Obama speech is 'like sex'."~ Rush Limbaugh

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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    Well, no matter how lucky you get with health insurance (i.e. working for a co. that gets a group rate which equals to kick ass coverage for not quite an arm and a leg) the whole fucking business is nothing but a goddamned racket. Fuck who wins president, this alone is enough to seriously make me consider moving to another country.

    Gays getting an even more gigantic shaft is just that much worse. And anyone who thinks otherwise or doesn't care is officially a BIGOT, regardless of how much they wanna blather on and pretend otherwise.
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    Silver Member chattykathy's Avatar
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    Have heard that it isn't much better in other countries. Where would you go?
    ""Somebody needs to talk to Alex Castellanos: he may not be doing sex right if he thinks an Obama speech is 'like sex'."~ Rush Limbaugh

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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    Oh really? From where did you hear this?? Someone living in the Sudan??? I'm certain it wasn't from your average Canadian (where a friend of mine gave birth to a baby prematurely who stayed in the hospital for about 2 months and raved way more about the level of care than even the fact that it didn't cost them).

    Let's try any one of the dozen or more industrialized nations (I think we're like, 17, last time I checked....which is pisspoor) that rank higher than the US.
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