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Gay or Straight, Marriage Gets Pricier

President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage this week propelled the controversial social issue back into the national spotlight, just six months before the November elections. But while politicians and pundits debate the ethical and religious implications, advisers point out that the costs of marriage – and its ugly flipside, divorce – are soaring, even as many Americans’ salaries remain stagnant.

First, the positive spin. At the state and national level, experts say more marriage is a good thing, from a financial standpoint at least. Indeed, some studies suggest that if the right of same-sex couples to wed were granted nationally, the policy could generate hundreds of millions in extra revenue. For example, one study conducted this year by the  Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA estimated that New Jersey would generate $48 million to $119 million over three years if same-sex marriage was allowed. The gains would come mostly from the spending on the weddings themselves, although some experts say these couples could put more money into the economy over time, due to long-term savings from filing joint tax returns.

But for couples – straight and gay – marriage can mean higher costs, especially when it leads to divorce. One big reason for the spike, say experts, is that marriage and divorce now come with even more financial strings attached. For example, more than half of divorce attorneys say they have seen a rise in women paying child support over the past three years, according to a new survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. And nearly half have seen a rise in women paying alimony. “Everything has gotten more expensive,” says Michael Goodman, a certified public accountant and president of Wealthstream Advisors in New York City. talked to financial planners, accountants and other experts to find out ways that saying “I do” means more spending now (or later if you decide you don’t).

Here are five ways marriage and divorce are getting more expensive:



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    • What a poorly written and poorly researched article. 4 of the 5 examples have to do directly with divorce (not marriage) or where divorce is the root cause.

      And nowhere does it mention that two spouses earning the same wages have an effective income tax rate highere than if they remained single.

      What is it with SmartMoney? I’d expect this from a grocery store tabloid.

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    • Don’t be hoodwinked.

      Gays set up the straw man of “gay marriage.”

      While we argue against gay marriage many people have come to accept that the practice of gay sodomy is not a perversion and a great evil causing millions of dollars—and deaths—to all of mankind.

      The Bible mentions 122 abominations. Only one warrants the death penalty: gay sodomy.

      Columbia University Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Robert Spitzer, who was instrumental in removing homosexuality in 1973 from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders, wrote a more recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. He contended that people can change their “sexual orientation” from homosexual to heterosexual.

      Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a clinical psychologist in California and author of Healing Homosexuality who was president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), the country’s largest organization for practitioners of ex-gay therapy. …hundreds of people who were now able to live “normal” lives.

      Frank Bruni in the NY Times (January 2012):
      The exact dynamics through which someone winds up gay are “still an open question,” said Clinton Anderson, the director of the LGBT Concerns Office of the American Psychological Association. “There is substantial evidence of various connections between genes, brain, hormones and sexual identity…”

      In Cuba everyone who tested positive for H.I.V. was forced into quarantine. The population of Cuba is only slightly larger than that of New York City. In the three decades of the global AIDS epidemic, 78,763 New Yorkers have died of AIDS. Only 2,364 Cubans have.
      —“A Regime’s Tight Grip on AIDS” by Donald G. McNeil Jr. NYT May 7, 2012

      It is an erroneous free choice—same as transgenders, man-child love, incest, bestiality, etc. What would you do with a mother who wishes to marry her consenting adult son? It’s not “Anything Goes.”

      There is still hope.

    • Perhaps without realizing it (I can only give the benefit of the doubt, but can’t be certain), politicians have made marriage a perilous minefield. This is especially the case for men. No wonder so many people these days opt out.

      But don’t think living together is the solution. Many states treat living together as if you are married, so when you split up, it is like going through a divorce as far the finances go. The less monied person can sue for half the assets and even something akin to alimony. It’s nuts!

      Makes me wonder why gay people are so interested in marriage. Seems to me that in most respects, they can create a less risky mutual arrangement and still have a committed partnership.

    • “some experts say these couples could put more money into the economy over time, due to long-term savings from filing joint tax returns” — Who are these experts?

      Almost all couples pay more in income taxes – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars a year – if they marry! Tax brackets for married couples are smaller, many deductions and exemptions are per-return not per person, and unmarried people can qualify for single head-of-household status.

      The only married couples who get a big break are same-sex couples in community property states. Because the Federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage (yet) but must respect state community property laws, they get to divide their income 50/50 and file two single (or single head-of-household) returns – which saves money in every case. But this is available only to same-sex couples.

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