The cost of being an American gay couple over a lifetime can be around $460,000 (£288,400) more than for being a straight couple, research has suggested.

According to the New York Times, the cost is due to the Defence of Marriage Act, which prohibits gay couples from accessing the same rights and benefits as heterosexuals.

Journalists Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Lieber created a hypothetical gay couple, which they placed in different scenarios to look at the situations in which gay couples lose out. This includes social security, inheritance tax and health benefits.

They wrote: “In our worst case, the couple’s lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562. But the number fell to $41,196 in the best case for a couple with significantly better health insurance, plus lower taxes and other costs.”

It was found that the legalisation of gay marriage would make a substantial difference to the finances of gay couples.

Bernard and Liber added: “Nearly all the extra costs that gay couples face would be erased if the federal government legalised same-sex marriage/

“One exception is the cost of having biological children, but we felt it was appropriate to include this given our goal of outlining every cost gay couples incur that heterosexual couples may not.”

To read the full study, click here