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Love and Money

A few years ago, an NPR talk show interviewed a guest who claimed that same-sex marriage was unnecessary. Why? Because everything LGBT people wanted was possible by simply signing a contract. "If you want to ensure you jointly own property, sign a contract that states you both own it. If you want your significant other to visit you in the hospital or make end-of-life decisions for you, sign a contract.  If you want your significant other to inherit your property, sign a contract."  Never mind that no contract in the world let you adopt children, get survivor benefits from Social Security or a private pension, or inherit assets without paying taxes (on these grounds DOMA was overturned).  Never mind that hiring a lawyer to write a contract is onerous, expensive, and, for many people, impossible.  No, just sign a contract and all problems end.

If contracts are so fantastic, why aren't straight people lining up to sign them instead of getting married?

Case in point:

Now that we're married, Darwin and I were able to put Darwin (and his son Shane) on my medical benefits.  My benefits cover more than Darwin's did, and the moment Darwin appeared on my insurance, we saved enormous sums of money.  Elephant sized sums.  World-wrecking asteroid sized sums.  I'm not exaggerating.

Darwin is diabetic, and he needs insulin, injection materials, and other medications to stay alive.  Insulin is ungodly expensive, especially because it has be combined with another equally expensive medication.  Even after Darwin's insurance kicked in, he was paying over $370 per month for the two meds.  Without them, he'll die, so he paid it.

Once he switched to my insurance, he filled another scrip.  Cost?  $40.  That's right--$330 cheaper.  That's almost $4,000 per year, every year.  On just on those two prescriptions.  He has others.

The co-pay on his doctor visits dropped by $30 per visit.  His and Shane's yearly deductible dropped by--get this--more than $12,000.  You read that right: by more than $12,000.  Because of Darwin's condition (diabetes is expensive), he met his deductible most years, so a lowered deductible translates into cash money for us.  It's like the landlord suddenly lowering your rent.

Additionally, now that Darwin has ended his benefits at his job, he gets a payout in exchange, and it's a big chunk of money. Every year.  This is like a raise.

We were also able to double-team our dental coverage.  Now instead of paying half the dentist bill, with insurance picking up the other half, the two insurance companies each pay half.  We pay nothing at the dentist now.

Finally, Darwin's insurance made him pay for lab work, to the tune of $120 or more a shot.  Under my insurance, that goes away.

Darwin and me getting married is saving us something on the order of $16,000 . . . BEFORE you figure in the lack of dental bills, the lower office co-pays, the lab fees, and the annual payout from Darwin's job.  When all is said and done, we're talking about $25,000 per year.

That's considered above the poverty level for a family of four.

None of this was possible before legalized marriage.  No contract would get Wherever Schools to put Darwin on my benefits--only a marriage license would do that.  The NPR guest knew this full well, of course,  He was just looking for ways to excuse his bigotry.

THIS is why we needed marriage.  THIS is what we were fighting for.  Yes, marriage is about love.  But it's also about money, about combining households and finances to benefit your family.  Straight people have had this for centuries, and now it's our turn to enjoy the same.
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