October 20, 2004

Singles vs. Couples

It's the swinging singles life: freedom, excitement, adventure.  Some singles say they're being discriminated against.  They claim, they don't get the same treatment and breaks as families. 

For example, they say it's unheard of for a single person to leave work early, but married people often get a free pass if they need to pick up a child.

Singles often miss out on "family" deals at businesses, like not getting the family discount at a health club.  Some singles have tried to sign up a brother or sister to qualify for the discount and have been told the discount is only for spouses and kids.

Singles rights groups are fighting for equality.  They say there will soon be more than 90 million unmarried adults in the U.S. 

"We're right on the verge now of becoming an unmarried majority nation," says Thomas Coleman of Unmarried America.

"Unmarried people are not looking for special rights, they're only looking for equal rights," says Marshall Miller with the Alternatives to Marriage Project.

Both groups say singles face discrimination in everything from taxes to health insurance, even supermarket and travel discounts.  They're hoping for help in Congress to get a more level playing field for singles. 

Many companies say the family discounts are a matter of volume, not wedded bliss.

"Well, if you're single and only have one car, then of course you're not gonna be eligible for a multi-car discount. Some married folks only have one car and they wouldn't be eligible, either," says Madelyn Flannagan of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.

Singles say things need to change because society is changing.