Economics & Business
Excluding same-sex couples and their families from marriage not only causes economic hardship for families, but also negatively impacts businesses.
Marriage discrimination causes economic hardship for families. Same sex couples and their families are a reflection of America; they live in 99% of American counties and are even more racially diverse than the general population (pdf). Just as lesbian and gay couples take care of each other and their families with the same love and commitment as any other couple, they also have the same sets of economic decisions to make as everyone else. Unlike everyone else, however, committed same sex couples experience numerous economic injustices (pdf) directly connected to their exclusion from the protections marriage provides such as family health insurance, property rights, social security benefits, automatic inheritance, and divorce.
Excluding same-sex couples from marriage negatively impacts business.Offering insurance benefits to married spouses of employees is one of the most effective recruitment and retention tools for companies. When this process is made simple and easy for all employees, employers benefit financially. The continuing exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage makes offering gay and lesbian employees family benefits a complicated and costly process for employers (pdf). In addition, gay and lesbian employees stand to lose many other important family protections because of marriage discrimination. Despite such financial challenges, companies around the country are taking a stand against discrimination; a majority of Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic partner benefits.
Ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage will allow same-sex couples and their families access to the economic safety net that our government currently provides married couples while also positively impacting the U.S. economy.
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Today, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued an executive order to the Missouri Department of Revenue that allows same-sex couples who legally married in other states to jointly file their taxes for the state of Missouri.
This week, a huge variety of voices have spoken out against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in legal amicus briefs filed to the U.S. Supreme Court, including Republicans, the Obama administration, mayors, state-wide LGBT organizations, and nearly 300 businesses.
This morning, CNBC financial expert Suze Orman moderated a panel discussion called "The Cost of Marriage Inequality." The discussion centered on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal respect for legal marriages between same-sex couples, and states where same-sex couples do not have the freedom to marry.
Resources Related to Economics and Business
Annual report of HRC's Equality Index
An analysis of all the extra health, legal and other costs same-sex couples bear because they can't marry
Fact sheet outlining how same-sex couples experience discrimination in marriage through the tax code.