Column One:
Eye on Unmarried America

November 27,  2006  



Readers react to previous Column One commentaries

Below are recent letters from readers sharing their reactions to 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 and we will consider publishing them.


December 12, 2005
Unmarried drivers should shop carefully for insurance

My sister's husband passed away in June 2006 and now GEICO has raised her rates on the car insurance, saying, now she is Single. 

She is no different than she was, maybe better off; because her husband had Alzheimer's for several years.  Now that he is gone, she can relax and put the house back in order. 

I was not aware that widows, singles paid more.  I can understand very young drivers pay more, they do not have experience, like to go fast, and are on the phone and talking to their friends and don't pay attention to what other drivers might do.  You really have to know what the other driver is going to do, even before they know. 

I am married and also have GEICO.  Since everyone talks about all kinds of discrimination now days, I think this should be changed so singles are not discriminated against. 

Thank you for your web site and your time.

from California

October 23,  2006
Discrimination claims filed by heterosexual couples

Thanks for the Web site. Very interesting.

Am struggling to find additional information, however, on what potential changes may be made to the CA law regarding domestic partnerships. I'm currently in a heterosexual domestic partnership. We have nothing against marriage, it's just not our plan at the moment. However, frankly I find it discriminatory that we cannot register as a DP because we are heterosexual and under the age of 62.

We recently moved down to CA from the state of WA where the laws there are not yet so clearly defined. My employer in WA allowed opposite-sex DP's, as long as we filed a form. (Although, I've since heard that is not the case in all of the state and a lawsuit has been filed there as well.)

Are you aware of any steps for consistency and less discrimination, in the state of CA, and/or in the states?

Thanks for your time and have a great day,

July 24, 2006
Anti-cohabitation law bites the dust

To Whom it May Concern:

I, Glenn Tinney and my partner, Ashley Smith, are two law abiding citizens who love each other very dearly and have been living with each other since July 2004. Ashley and myself are not currently married, but plan to marry in the future.  To our surprise, while attending court yesterday, we discovered that our lifestyle is considered illegal by the states of Virginia and West Virginia.  A Judge from the Frederick County Virginia JDR Court ordered that Ashley Smith was barred from sleeping in our very own house while my son is staying with us.

 The court gave us two options, either Ashley and I have to marry immediately or we have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on hotel rooms for Ashley to sleep in until we do eventually get married on our own terms.  We assume the third option is that we could never have my son over again!

 I love both my son and Ashley and I now feel like I have to choose between them.  Should I spend my holidays and weekends with my girlfriend or my son?  It hurt me deeply to see the love of my life crying and emotionally distraught over this judge’s order.  I know that when my son realizes that Ashley has to sleep in a hotel he will be upset, too.  Ashley and my son have a fantastic relationship and they love each other deeply.  Ashley has played a very integral and nurturing role in his life from changing his diapers to teaching him how to tie his shoes and now she is barred from kissing him goodnight and waking up to him jumping on the bed and giggling about cinnamon rolls!

Further, if cohabitation is illegal, then why do the courts pick and choose who they enforce the law upon?  To our knowledge, the law doesn’t say that “only unwed parents” can’t cohabit with other persons, it says “any persons”. 

§ 18.2-345. Lewd and lascivious cohabitation.

If any persons, not married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or, whether married or not, be guilty of open and gross lewdness and lasciviousness, each of them shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor; and upon a repetition of the offense, and conviction thereof, each of them shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(Code 1950, § 18.1-193; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc. 14, 15.)

I wonder then, why were we singled out?  Also, if the judge truly thought we were committing a crime, why weren’t we brought up on charges for it?  Why can we cohabit when my son is not around, but can’t when he is?  I can’t see where the law has listed exceptions of any kind.  If the state is going to enforce the law, they should enforce the law on each and every person living in these states.  We were unfairly discriminated against because a child was involved. 

Both Ashley and myself feel that our civil liberties have been violated.  Both the states of Virginia and West Virginia should have no business regulating relationships between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes.  Ashley pays rent, utilities and is on the lease of our Townhouse, yet the court just barred her from living in her own home while my son is staying over! 

We have requested the help of both the Virginia and West Virginia chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to help us create a case and take it all the way to Supreme Courts of Virginia and West Virginia.  The outdated law, established in 1877, should be removed from the code.  I am asking you to help us publish an article on the anti-cohabitation laws that still exist in only six states.  I am asking that the newspapers inform the citizens of Virginia and West Virginia about the damage it is causing families and children.  I also want to let others who feel that their civil liberties are being threatened because of the Anti-Cohabitation Laws know that the ACLU has a place that they can go to report their case if they visit  Virginians can also support the Virginians for Cohabitation group by visiting

© Unmarried America 2006

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.