In its nearly 20 years of existence, the Defense of Marriage Act has continually cost gay and lesbians their equality. But it has also cost the American public a whopping $18 billion dollars.
Enacted in 1996, DOMA was sold, at least partially, under the guisethat depriving gay couples the right to marry would save the government oodles money. (Same-sex couples can’t file taxes jointly, for example, and widows of gay service members can’t receive their pensions.)
Well, the Republicans must have been doing some fuzzy math, because DOMA actually cost the government—a lot.
Ned Flaherty of Marriage Equality USA does the math for us in a piece in PolicyMic:
In 2004, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that if state and federal governments honored same-gender marriage nationwide from 2005 through 2015, the net effect would benefit the federal budget’s bottom line — by nearly $10 billion.
Even though expenses would increase for federal programs such as veterans, pensions, and Social Security, those costs would be more than offset by: (1) decreased costs for programs such as elderly/disabled benefits, Medicaid, and Medicare, and (2) increased tax revenue because people pay more taxes when they’re married than when they’re single. Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that over the last decade, the number of same-gender couples grew in every single state, and grew nationally from 358,390 to 646,464 couples.
Had the Budget Office known nine years ago about that 80% increase, and also known that actual couples are 15% more than Census figures indicate, then the net $10 billion calculated in 2004 would have been estimated as far larger.
Ironically, of the 279 Republicans in Congress, 99% are against repealing DOMA. So much for the Republicans being the party of saving money.