Human Rights Program
for Unmarried America
We Seek to:
Promote Self Esteem • Change Public Opinion • Protect Personal Privacy
Eliminate Bias in the Workplace, Marketplace, and Government Programs
The United States Supreme Court has now declared that unmarried adults
have privacy rights as a protected "liberty." This is a mandate
for government to get out of our bedrooms. The remnants of
antiquated laws in some 21 states must now be swept away with the formal
opinions of Attorneys General or by state legislatures in these
jurisdictions. "Marital status" is not a legitimate criteria on
which to deny basic liberties.
Benefits. Unmarried workers receive less pay
for doing the same work as married employees. This is because most employers give greater
benefits compensation (health, pension, etc.) to married workers. This disparity causes
single workers or those with a domestic partner to receive 25% less pay than their married
coworkers. Employers should provide equal pay for equal work to all employees regardless
of marital status. Cafeteria-style benefits programs with equal allocation of benefits to
all workers are the best solution. Domestic partner plans should be open to both same-sex
couples and unmarried heterosexual couples.
Housing. Some landlords wont rent to single-parent families or to
unmarried roommates. Still others, in the name of religion, reject unmarried couples.
These unfair business practices must stop. Judges should not create "religious"
exemptions from fair housing laws. Zoning laws must be changed so they do not prohibit
unrelated adults from living together in areas zoned for "single family" use.
Insurance. Many insurance companies lump all unmarried people into one
"high risk" class and then charge them higher rates on account of their marital
status. Other companies refuse to issue joint policies to unmarried couples so that
consumers are required to pay a double premium. Risk factors should be more tailored to an
individuals lifestyle rather than group stereotypes. Joint policies should be issued
to household members .
Discounts. Many businesses offer consumer discounts to spouses or family
members. These perks should be available to any household member, just as the airlines now
have "companion fares" or "friends fly free."
Taxes. Married couples are not taxed by the federal government for
workplace benefits or inheritance when one spouse dies. Unmarried people are taxed under
such circumstances. Married couples, but not unmarried partners, can file join tax
returns. Married couples with children are getting tax breaks from
Congress while single people are left out totally or get leftover table
scraps. Cities have a transfer tax when an owner transfers property to a friend, domestic
partner, or unmarried household member. Married couples are not taxed for such transfers.
Such tax penalties based on marital status are unfair.
Victims. State laws will not allow an unmarried survivor to sue a drunk
driver for the wrongful death of an unmarried household member. Only a surviving spouse or
blood relative may sue. Unmarried people deserve legal protection too.
Children. Some states will not allow unmarried couples to be foster parents
or to jointly adopt a child. Some judges restrict visitation or custody rights of a
biological parent who has divorced, forbidding them to live with an unmarried partner
while their child lives with them or visits them. These restrictions are unjust. The best
interests of the child should always control. Also, children of unmarried or divorced
parents deserve proper financial support. States should be more vigorous in establishing
paternity and collecting child support for these children.
Most states unjustly stigmatize
children born to unmarried parents. Statutes in 13 states refer to these children as
"bastards" and the judges in 37 states refer to them as "illegitimate"
children. No child is illegitimate. Legislators and judges must stop the name calling.
Palimony. Courts in some states will not enforce cohabitation agreements made
by unmarried couples with respect to the distribution of property or support payments
should they separate. It is unfair for courts to enforce business contracts but not to
arbitrate personal agreements between domestic partners.
Family. Many statutes and private-sector programs allocate benefits to
"family" members or "dependents." These terms should be defined in a
broad and inclusive manner in defining eligibility for benefits or legal protections so
that unmarried families are not excluded.
Registries. State and local governments are establishing domestic partner
registries so that unmarried partners and their families may publicly declare their family
status and receive legal protections. These registries should be open to same-sex and
unmarried heterosexual partners alike.
protections. Federal civil rights laws and
similar statutes in a majority of states do not prohibit marital status bias in
employment, housing, or business transactions. Elected officials should not leave 86
million unmarried adults vulnerable to such discrimination.
Esteem. Some single people have low self
esteem, believing they must marry in order to be "complete." Many divorced
people feel as if they are a failure, even though leaving an unloving or abusive spouse
was the best course of action. Our educational materials will show people that self worth
does not hinge on ones marital status.
Public Opinion. Many people feel there is
something wrong with a middle-aged person who remains unmarried. Some feel that divorce
shows weakness of character. And others believe that unmarried heterosexual cohabitation
or same-sex relationships are morally wrong. Our public education program will promote
respect for the freedom of choice of individuals in the pursuit of happiness.
Please Sign Our Guestbook and let us know that you support the Human