Column One:
Eye on Unmarried America

May 21,  2007  



Letters from readers of Column One

Below are letters from readers sharing their views on issues which have been raised in this column.  The date and name of the column are in bold (with hyperlink to the commentary) and the readers comments follow.  Send us your comments on a particular column or on any issue affecting single people and we will consider publishing them.


February 5, 2007
British sisters to appeal human rights ruling

Thank you for this.  

My younger sister and I are both in our mid-40s and I have lived together since college years in a sort of “sibling-marriage”.  We intend to live this way for the rest of our lives and have often wondered if there was a movement afoot somewhere that would allow us similar rights to married people.  

My sister is a full-time employee with 25 years service and a great benefits package, and I am a freelance graphic designer struggling to pay incredibly high insurance costs.  Even a Gay or Lesbian couple in a similar circumstance would not be struggling.  

As single women it feels as though we pay more into the public system than married people with children — despite the fact that we use up fewer public resources.  

Do you have information that would connect us with other people with similar concerns?  

Best regards,

Karen B. of California

p.s.  I would like to hear from others who live in a similar situation.  They can e-mail me at:


April 10, 2006
IRS digs into pockets of low income singles

I just wanted to say that I saw your website and found it very interesting. Cudos to you.  

I'm 49 and have always been single and have, over the years, noticed the many ways in which I'm discriminated against (legally and socially) for being single.  Your list of laws that discriminate is very interesting and I would like to add one to the list that is VERY IMPORTANT financially to singles, and that is related to capital gains tax.  To wit, married people are entitled, when they sell their home, to a $500,000 capital gains exemption.  Thus, for marrieds, $500,000 of the gain from sale of the home is exempt from taxes.  Singles are only entitled to a $250,000 exemption. 

Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, as interpreted by the courts, a state law may validly treat similarly situated persons differently if there is a "rational basis" for doing so (except with respect to certain classes, such, as race and gender) where the state must have more than a merely "rational basis" for the distinction, but rather must show a compelling basis).  Financial issues fall under the "rational basis" test.

There is no rational basis for the capital gains exemption.  Singles are paying the same mortgage amount as the married couple.  Singles are paying the same real estate taxes on the property.  Singles and married couples alike are benefiting in the gain exactly the same, that is, a single person owning the same piece of property as the married couple would gain the same.  True that the married couple (should they divorce) would have to split the exemption and gain in half, but this should not alter the conclusion since, theoretically, they also split the expenses of the property (mortgage, insurance, taxes etc.).  If anything, it is far more burdensome for the single person to own the same piece of property and therefore, the single person should "at least" have the same tax exemption benefit at the end of it.

If a single person were in the 25% tax bracket, he/she will have to pay $62,500 more in taxes on the sale of property where the gain is $500,000 or more than the married person.  NOT FAIR!!!

Just thought I'd bring that to your attention, as it would be a great issue to lobby.

Anne M.

January 23, 2006
Many unmarried taxpayers denied 'head of household' status

I prepared my taxes yesterday and was told the law changed and I can no longer file as Head of Household. 

I am single and my single son, who is legally blind in one eye, and somewhat slow, has lived with me for 36 years.  He has a job but makes only a little over minimum wage.  

I have paid taxes since age 19 and have worked all my life.  Now I am 67, still working and still paying taxes and now at tax time I have to pay MORE!!!  

Who is responsible for changing this law?   Is this another Bush thing to pay for his WAR? 


September 6, 2005
Labor Day: striving for equality when the party is over

I'm glad there is an organization out there representing the interests of the unmarried in this country.  I'm hoping you could provide some insight into what I consider as a workplace inequality at my place of employment. 

I work for a small municipality in the State of Kentucky.  The City for which I work is self insured.  They find this to be more suitable than paying premiums to an Insurance company.  They do however, pay a professional company to administer the employees' health insurance.  As far back as anyone can remember the City has been paying the health insurance in full for not only the employee their spouses and unlimited number of children. 

I as a single person do not necessarily think it is fair that all of these families are benefiting free of charge off of the City health insurance.  In my mind, those employees that carry multiple people on the insurance are receiving a form of compensation that I am not.  Many of those households are bringing in two incomes yet opting out of one of their health insurance plans. 

Is it legal for the City to pay for non employees in full and not compensate me as a single person for this "extra benefit" others are receiving?  Any feedback on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Paul B. of Kentucky


© Unmarried America 2007

Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.  Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried America. E-mail: Unmarried America is a nonprofit information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and voters.