ABC's Stephanopoulos Hypes 'Net Benefit For the Treasury From Gay Marriage'

On Thursday, George Stephanopoulos touted how legalizing same-sex "marriage" would supposedly bring in additional revenue into the federal government's coffers. The former Clinton administration official claimed that "the Treasury would actually take in more money if gays and lesbians were allowed to get married and get federal benefits."

Stephanopoulos cited an eight-plus year old study from the Congressional Budget Office that found that redefining marriage to include homosexual couples "could bring in up to $1 billion a year – so, a net benefit for the Treasury from gay marriage."

George Stephanopoulos, ABC News Anchor; Screen Cap From Online Video Segment at http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/how-legalizing-same-sex-marriage-could-help-reduce-the-deficit/ | NewsBusters.orgThe ABC anchor devoted part of an online video report to "How Legalizing Same Sex Marriage Could Help Reduce the Deficit." He led with a viewer question: "Donna Lynn Lewis...says, 'My friend argues that it would somehow hurt the economy, as far as benefits or Social Security. This doesn't make sense to me. Maybe you could explain what the financial effect would be for our society.'"

Stephanopoulos began his reply by noting that "it's actually hard to gauge what the overall economic impact would be." He continued with his assertion that "the Treasury would actually take in more money if gays and lesbians were allowed to get married", and explained that "if gay or lesbian couples are married and they have about equal income, they would actually pay more in taxes than if they were single."

The liberal ABC journalist isn't alone in playing this up. During a brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose cited a story in USA Today on the Supreme Court case concerning the Defense of Marriage Act. Rose outlined that "if it's [DOMA is] struck down, it may not be a financial windfall for same-sex couples. The case has centered on federal benefits. If they become eligible for the benefits, they would also have to pay higher taxes."

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Carrie Johnson ballyhooed that the clients of a tax accountant who caters to homosexuals "have been surprised to find out they could pay the dreaded marriage penalty." Johnson highlighted that the accountant "tells them that's just a price of equality."

The relevant transcript of George Stephanopoulos's online segment from ABC News' website:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello, everyone. I'm George Stephanopoulos here with today's 'Bottom Line', and lots of questions coming in on gay marriage, after those two days of emotional arguments at the Supreme Court. Let's get right to them.

First one comes from Donna Lynn Lewis. She says, 'My friend argues that it would somehow hurt the economy, as far as benefits or Social Security. This doesn't make sense to me. Maybe you could explain what the financial effect would be for our society.' Fantastic question.

It's actually hard to gauge what the overall economic impact would be. But – but – you know, there are more than 1,100 federal regulations and laws that affect marriage, and your friend might be surprised to know that, in fact, the Treasury would actually take in more money if gays and lesbians were allowed to get married and get federal benefits. Here's why: it turns out that if gay or lesbian couples are married and they have about equal income, they would actually pay more in taxes than if they were single.

In fact, the Congressional Budget Office did a study of this back in 2004, and said it could bring in up to $1 billion a year – so, a net benefit for the Treasury from gay marriage.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center