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The Cost of Marriage Inequality to Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Seniors : A Human Rights Campaign Foundation Report

When a gay, lesbian, or bisexual senior dies, his or her surviving partner faces a financial loss that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars because the couple cannot be recognized as legally married in the United States. Without marriage, Social Security survivor benefits are not available, retirement plans inherited from a partner are heavily taxed, and estate taxes apply to the inheritance of a home. Using data from Census 2000, this report analyzes and quantifies how the lack of legal marriage recognition affects the financial stability of same-sex senior couples.

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