Marriage and Financial Inequality: Why Gay & Lesbian Couples Pay More

Black Enterprise
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April 5, 2013

It was a day many couples dream of for Mignon R. Moore, 42, and Elaine Harley, 43, who exchanged wedding vows at a beachside ceremony in Los Cabos, Mexico, in 2012. The native New Yorkers marked their 10-year relationship by obtaining a marriage license from the state. Unfortunately, they are not receiving all the benefits of a legal marriage because they have been living in Los Angeles for the past six years, where they are recognized not as spouses but as domestic partners.

“We only had a small window of time to get married in California before Prop 8 [the ballot initiative that stripped same-sex marriage], so we never got the opportunity,” says Moore, an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Most people take for granted the financial safety net a legal marriage creates, says attorney Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project director at Lambda Legal, a national organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and people with HIV.