Salt Lake Tribune
Amy Gage hit the nail on the head with her August 2nd article
describing the frustration felt by many workers who are single or without children.
Our own research has confirmed a growing level of resentment by
single workers when employers give benefits, perks, and other advantages to employees who
are married or who have children.
Unmarried employees constitute about 40 percent of the full-time
workforce in America. While only a small percent of them have had the courage to speak up,
human resource professionals are beginning to take note of the problem. That is why many
larger employers have changed their terminology from "work-family" programs to
"work-life" programs to help employees balance their job duties and their
As Ms. Gage's article points out, the squeaky wheel gets oiled. It's
time for unmarried workers to speak out and demand "equal pay for equal work"
not only in their paychecks but also in terms of benefits compensation.
Charity begins at home. Maybe its time for single employees to
support a charitable organization that promotes their well being and equal rights. The
American Association for Single People is a nonprofit organization which does just that.
AASP has a "Singles Friendly Workplace Campaign" designed
to make employers, unions, and employees aware of the needs and concerns of unmarried
workers. Details about the project are available on our website --
www.unmarriedAmerica.com -- which we invite your readers to visit.
Membership in AASP is open to any adult, regardless of marital
status, who makes a tax-deductible donation to AASP of $10 or more.
Our thanks go out to Ms. Gage for alerting your readers to this
Thomas F. Coleman
P.O. Box 65756
Los Angeles, CA 90065
July 17, 2000
Hillary: endorse our Stop the Stigma
July 17, 2000
Hillary Clinton for U.S. Senate
450 Seventh Avenue, Suite 803
New York, NY 10123
Re: Request for your endorsement of Stop the Stigma Campaign;
say no to "illegitimate child" and no to
Dear Ms. Clinton:
Each year about 33 percent of births in the United States involve
children born to unmarried parents. As you know, unwed births are not a new phenomena. A
large segment of people who are now adults were born when their parents were not married.
Our research has disclosed that a majority of states continue to
stigmatize such children. In 17 states there are statutes on the books which refer to
children born outside of wedlock as "bastards" or "illegitimate." Some
appellate judges in 37 states refer to these children as "illegitimate."
We believe that it is time to stop the name calling. Statutes are
the embodiment of the collective will of the people. Judges are supposed to be fair and
impartial. We think you would agree that it is not fair to label children in such a
Part of the mission of AASP is to end marital status bias against
unmarried adults and their families. In furtherance of this goal, we have launched a Stop
the Stigma Campaign. The enclosed brochure explains more about the campaign which is being
conducted state by state. I have also enclosed some brochures about AASP and its overall
I am requesting that you support our campaign to remove the term
"bastard" from the statute books in several states and the term
"illegitimate child" from statutes and written judicial opinions.
As a childrens rights advocate and senatorial candidate, your
endorsement would help to send a loud and clear message to state and federal judges in New
York that slurs should not be used to describe children born out of wedlock.
The recent news stories which accused you of using the slur
"Jew bastard" some 25 years ago focused solely on the anti-Semitic portion of
the allegation. None of the stories made any mention of the fact that "bastard"
is a stigmatizing term in and of itself.
The news stories reported that you denied having
ever made such a slur. I believe you. Such a statement would be totally out of character
for a person with your integrity, especially considering your sensitivity to the needs of
minorities and your dedication to the well being of children.
Should you decide to lend your endorsement to our
Stop the Stigma Campaign and I trust that you will you may use the response
form and reply envelope for that purpose.
Thomas F. Coleman
July 12, 2000
AASP comments on new report about
The Single Female Consumer
Ira Matathia, CEO
285 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
Dear Mr. Matathia:
The news of your report on The Single Female Consumer is very exciting.
The emergence of single women as a powerful consumer force to be reckoned with is part of
a larger trend that will soon be evident, namely, that unmarried Americans as a class will
be seen as a political as well as economic force that can no longer be ignored. Of course,
as your study shows, single women are a major and important part of this larger class.
The American Association for Single People has been formed to promote the well being and
human rights of unmarried adults, couples, parents, and families. AASP is the only
national organization which makes ending marital status discrimination its top priority.
AASP will do for single adults of all
ages what AARP has done for seniors -- take an un-represented class of people and give
them a collective voice to be considered when decisions about their lives are being made
by elected officials, union bosses, and corporate executives.
AASP now has members in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Many elected officials
have joined our group, including state senators, state representatives, city council
members, members of Congress, and others.
Our website -- www.unmarriedAmerica.com -- is the most authoritative source of information
for and about single people on the entire Internet. When you visit our website you will
find: current news, issue papers, essays, legal information, political analyses, book
listings, and other information vital to the well being of single people.
Of course, we will report the news of your study on The Single Female Consumer to our
members and to others who visit our website.
Please let us know if there is any way in which you think we could work together to help
improve the quality of life for single women, indeed for all single adults, in the United
Thank you for your major contribution to this growing movement called "singles
rights," which is a combination of consumer activism and human rights advocacy.
We look forward to your response.
Thomas F. Coleman
July 11, 2000
Delphi Auto systems should adopt an
inclusive benefits plan
Financial Communications Director
Delphi Automotive Systems
Dear Ms. Zajac:
We read a news article that Delphi is considering a domestic partner benefits program for
We also noted that your headquarters are in Troy. It's interesting
that the vice-president of AASP happens to live in Troy.
If you decide to move forward with dp benefits, we hope that you
will institute a gender-neutral plan that is open to unmarried heterosexual partners as
well as same-sex couples.
For more information about dp benefits, please visit our website. I
am providing one link below, which in turn will give you access to other pages pertaining
to dp benefits as well as our Singles Friendly Workplace Campaign.
If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know.
Thomas F. Coleman
May 30, 2000
Fight custody order and Michigan's
Yes, I am sorry to say that Michigan is one of those states with an
anti-cohabitation law. That law, however, requires the parties to be living together in a
lewd and lascivious manner (whatever that means).
I would suggest that you oppose the judge's order and file a brief
in the court arguing that the anti-cohabitation law is unconstitutional and that the
judge's order violates your right to privacy and freedom of
association. If the judge refuses to back down, you should appeal
This would be a good case for the Michigan ACLU to get involved in
-- and the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Do you have an attorney? If not, I could refer you to one in
Good luck, and keep me posted on the developments in your case. This
is outrageous, but nothing will change until people such as you fight back.
We invite you to join AASP. We need the support of unmarried people
in Michigan. Please go to the website, fill out the membership application, and send it
in. We will put you on our mailing list and keep you advised of our work and our progress.
To read the letter from Pamela, click
Advocacy for Solo Singles
May 9, 2000
Your comments are perfectly timed and very
Much of what we do on the website is to report
on what is happening in the
world. Most of that has to do with unmarried couples and nonmarital families. That is the
reality of what is out there. So, our reporting on what is happening will obviously be
affected by what is happening.
However, part of our mission is to educate and
advocate for change. Solo singles are are large, and neglected, segment of society.
When Miriam Greenwald wrote to me many months
ago with a similar comment to yours, I agreed and I asked her to participate. I suggested
that she might want to write an essay. She did. In fact, she has now written three essays.
We created a section on the website entitled "Essays for Solo
Singles." We also have links to other essays of this nature.
I have been giving much thought to the problem
of solo singles, especially in
the workplace. Some of my thoughts were shared in an interview by KCET public television
in Los Angeles recently. We just posted the transcript of that interview on the website.
As you can see, most of it deals with solo singles. See
I am currently developing a "Singles
Friendly Workplace Campaign" for AASP. We will survey the Fortune 500 companies to
determine their policies and programs with respect to marital status discrimination and
single workers. I have found several articles published in Human Resource magazines about
grumbling by solo singles. Most of these singles are heterosexual but many are gay and
The domestic partnership benefits programs which
are catching on are doing nothing for solo singles. We will encourage employers to respect
solo singles as part of the diversity in the workplace. We will also be willing to contact
specific employers at the request of AASP members to bring this issue to their attention.
Your e-mail message gives me encouragement and
stimulation to finish the development of this Singles Friendly Workplace Campaign program.
Look for the announcement of it soon on the website.
Thanks again for your comments.
To read the letter from Beth, click here.
Congratulations to NIKE
May 3, 2000
Dear Mr. Casler:
We would like to congratulate the NIKE corporation on the expansion of its permanent
partner benefits program to include the children of an employee's domestic partner.
We have reported this story in both the public
news section of our website as well as in the domestic partner news pages.
AASP is the only national organization that
makes the elimination of marital status discrimination its top priority. We promote the
well being and human rights of unmarried adults, couples, parents, and families.
We assume that a large segment of your workforce
in unmarried. Please feel free to share information about AASP with them.
Thomas F. Coleman
(Note: NIKE is a Fortune 500 company with a
domestic partner benefits program open to the unmarried partners of employees, regardless
of their gender.)
Partner Registry is a Weak
Foundation to Build Future Legislation on
March 20, 2000
Hon. Sheila Kuehl
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 2211 / background materials and some policy concerns
I was contacted last week by your office requesting
information regarding the problem unmarried couples face with respect to the inability of
a survivor to sue for wrongful death or emotional distress when their partner is killed by
This issue was addressed in the final report of the Los
Angeles City Task Force on Family Diversity in 1988. I was a special consultant to the
Task Force and was the author of its final report. A section of that report focused on
Domestic Partnership Families, making a specific reference to victim and survivor rights
(page 83) and how current state law is unfair to unmarried couples. Recommendation #86 was
directed to a Task Force convened by the California Legislature. It stated: (page 85)
"The Task Force recommends that the Joint Select Task
Force on the Changing Family study and propose revisions in laws regulating causes of
action based on wrongful death, loss of consortium, and negligent infliction of emotional
distress, so that rights of domestic partners as victims and survivors may be more
adequately and equitably protected by California law."
The Joint Select Task Force on the Changing Family was
convened by the California Legislature in 1987. Six legislators and 20 public members
served on the Task Force. I was one of the 20 public members and chaired the Couples
Workgroup of the Task Force. The workgroup studied the inability of a survivor to sue a
tortfeasor who intentionally or negligently killed a domestic partner. It presented a
report on this problem to the full Task Force.
The Joint Select Task Force issued its first year report to
the Legislature in June 1989. One section of the report focused on protecting adults
living in unmarried family relationships from the loss of economic security. The report
stated: (page 100)
"Serious gaps exist in the law giving
crime victims and their economically dependent partners recourse against wrongdoers. If a
couple is married and one member is seriously injured or killed, the other can sue for
damages to the marriage, emotional trauma, or wrongful death. However, if a member of an
unmarried couple is killed or maimed, the survivor, even if he or she was entirely
economically dependent on the partner, has no recourse to sue."
To rectify this gap in the law which
currently prevents an unmarried survivor from suing a drunk driver or even a murderer for
the wrongful death of the survivors domestic partner the full Task Force
recommended that the Legislature "amend the wrongful death statute to allow unmarried
adult dependents who resided with the deceased to sue for damages caused by a wrongful
death." (Page 102)
For your convenience, I have included copies
of the relevant sections of each of the reports mentioned above.
I should stress that each of these reports
and their recommendations were premised on an assumption that any legislative remedy to
the problem would help all unmarried couples, not just same-sex couples or
heterosexual couples over the age of 62.
The current domestic partner registry
established by the Legislature last year discriminates against young and middle-age
heterosexual domestic partners. I know that you would have preferred a gender-neutral
registration system and that it was Governor Gray Davis who insisted that the law be
limited to same-sex couples. It was due to the persistence of Singles Rights Lobby, the
legislative advocacy affiliate of AASP, that the Governor relented and finally allowed
some heterosexual domestic partners, i.e., seniors, to participate in the new system.
The new registry is strange. Census data
shows that about 70% of unmarried couples are heterosexual. Data from employers with
gender-neutral domestic partner benefits programs indicate that about two-thirds of
participating employees are in opposite-sex relationships. Despite the evidence that the
large majority of domestic partners are heterosexual, most of them are excluded from the
new California registry. A domestic partner registry that excludes the majority of
Because hundreds of thousands of unmarried
heterosexual couples in California are excluded from the current domestic partnership
registry, this system is not a good foundation to build upon, at least not until all
unmarried heterosexual couples, regardless of their age, are allowed to participate.
Also, many same-sex couples may not be ready
to openly declare their sexual orientation by signing up in a public registry, especially
if they live in a politically or socially conservative area.
Paula Ettelbrick heads the Family
Relationships Project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. I share her concern with
the current trend to restrict legal protections to people who register their relationships
with the government. Domestic partnership registries are not necessarily the best way to
solve inequities in current law, especially when most unmarried couples, including most
same-sex couples will not register with the government, for a variety of personal reasons.
There are other ways to protect survivors by
enabling them to sue wrongdoers who cause the death of an unmarried partner, ways that do
not require participating in a public registration system and ways that do not exclude
hundreds of thousands of people from the reform.
The right to sue the wrongdoer should not
depend on the gender of the parties or whether they have a marriage certificate or a
domestic partnership certificate. We should be creative in developing ways to protect
unmarried adults who lose a household member to whom they were economically and
For example, the law could be amended to
allow any adult who shared the same household with the deceased to sue the wrongdoer
for wrongful death or emotional distress if the survivor can prove that he
or she was fully or partially dependent on the deceased. The amount of damages would
depend, in part, on the extent to which the survivor was dependent. Also, the law could
give standing to sue to anyone whom the deceased designated as a significant beneficiary
in his or her will, let say, anyone who receives 25% or more of the deceaseds
estate. Neither of these methods requires a public registry.
Justice will not be served by simply adding
more rights and benefits to the current domestic partnership registration system,
especially when the majority of domestic partners are excluded from the system and also
because large numbers of same-sex couples will not participate in a public registry, at
least not at this time.
Your bill also would add a "domestic
partner" box to the statutory will form so that someone could use this form to leave
assets to his or her registered domestic partner. As currently written, it would appear
that the testamentary gift would be invalid unless the decedent and the beneficiary were
registered with the Secretary of State. Heterosexual couples between the ages of 18 and 62
in other words the majority of domestic partners would not be able to use
the statutory will form to leave assets to each other. This is unfair and unnecessary.
Furthermore, unmarried blood relatives may
not use the state domestic partner registry. There is no place currently on the statutory
will form for an unmarried adult to make a bequest to a blood relative such as a sister or
If the statutory will form is going to be
amended, why not make it work for all 10 million unmarried adults so everyone can use it
to designate one or two beneficiaries regardless of their marital status? This is a
"no cost" item. As such, the reform should be a generic as possible to help as
many people as possible.
Finally, I would like to mention the
reciprocity clause in your bill. As it is now worded, your bill would insure that couples
who have registered as domestic partners with cities or counties or states outside of
California would have their domestic partnership status recognized within California
should they travel here for a visit, or have a part-time residence here, or even move here
permanently. That is a laudable goal.
I was informed that you are considering
amending the bill to restrict the reciprocity clause to couples who have registered
outside of California if and only if they would have qualified to register with the
Secretary of State in California. In other words, the amendment under consideration would
tell heterosexual domestic partners between the ages of 18 and 62 again, the
majority of domestic partners in the nation fit this category that if they visit or
move to California our laws would treat them as total strangers to each other and not as
You strongly opposed Proposition 22. You
believed that California should recognize marriages from out of state as valid inside
California even if the couple could not have been married inside California. This state
has always recognized family relationships as valid in this state if they were valid in
the state in which they were created. Proposition 22 was designed to create an exception
to this rule. You, most Democrats, and many Republicans did not want to chip away at the
rule of reciprocity with respect to family relationships.
Are we now going to create a Prop 22 for
domestic partnerships? That is what the proposed amendment to the reciprocity clause of
your bill would do.
The voters, over your objection, amended the
rule of reciprocity to include a gender restriction with respect to out of state
marriages. Do we really want to use Prop 22 as a model for the reciprocity clause of your
domestic partnership bill by having the state refuse to recognize heterosexual domestic
partners from out of state? Just imagine the result. A 60-year-old couple from out of
state are visiting California on vacation. A drunk driver causes an accident and the
primary breadwinner is killed. The surviving domestic partner would not be able to sue the
drunk driver for damages because the survivor and the decedent, although registered with
the city of Denver as domestic partners, were a heterosexual couple. That is the result
that would be created if you amend your bill to include a Prop 22 style reciprocity
I know that you are a very intelligent and
equally thoughtful person. I am sharing this information and these concerns with you in
the hopes that you will take the appropriate actions as your bill moves forward.
Please let me know if I can be of any further
assistance or if you would like to discuss these issues further.
Very truly yours,
Thomas F. Coleman
Information for High School Research Project
March 4, 2000
Coral Reef High
Dear Ms. Tatol:
This sounds like an interesting but challenging project. Good luck.
Singles are an "invisible" minority in
as much as marital status demographics are over overlooked when surveys are being done.
There are 4.6 million unmarried men and women in
Florida, making Florida number 4 when it comes to the largest number of singles among all
states. For a ranking of the top 10 states, see: http://singlesrights.com/mstatus.html
Some information on voting trends can be found
on our Singles Rights Lobby website at: Click Here.
Most states continue to stigmatize children born
to unmarried parents. The list of offending states is found at: http://home.earthlink.net/~singlesrights/ill-laws.html
About 32% of children in the United States are
born to unmarried parents. To see how this compares with other nations, see: http://singlesrights.com/unwedint.html
About 36% of children born in Florida in recent
years were born out of wedlock. The number of unwed births in Florida seems to be
increasing slightly. For a list of states, including Florida, see: http://singlesrights.com/mstatus.html
Most states do not include "marital
status" in their civil rights laws. The list of states can be found at: http://home.earthlink.net/~singlesrights/biaslaws.html
Many states, including Florida, continue to
prohibit private sexual conduct between unmarried adults. Please see: http://home.earthlink.net/~singlesrights/privacy.html
For a more comprehensive list of issues and
problems affecting single people, see our website at: http://singlesrights.com/issues.html
For more demographics about singles, see: http://singlesrights.com/facts.html
For 1990 Census data for Miami, go to:
and then select Florida and check the box for "Go to state level - place". This
will take you to a new page where you can select a city and when you get there you should
be able to select "marital status by sex" as well as "household type and
size" and other data. I just connected there and it took me to: http://venus.census.gov/cdrom/lookup/952208069
I checked off box: p-1, p-5, p-19, p-27.
I hope this information is useful.
Please send me a copy of what your class
Thomas F. Coleman
To see the letter dated March 4, 2000,
to which this reply was sent, click here.
A Different Type of
February 13, 2000
Los Angeles Times
Dear Ms. Avins,
I read with interest your article on dating services for singles, especially your
discussion about all of the businesses on the Internet making lots of money helping
singles to become "unsingle." The article was well written and especially timely
considering that tomorrow is Valentine's Day.
I have had a chance to search the Internet,
looking for other types of singles sites. What I have found is that virtually all singles
groups involve dating or matchmaking or social and recreational activities. In contrast,
one finds sites for racial and ethnic minorities, women, gays, seniors, and other groups
which focus heavily on legal, political, economic, and other serious issued affecting the
whole person. Not so for singles groups, at least not until the emergence of the American
Association for Single People.
AASP promotes the well being and civil rights of
unmarried adults, couples, parents, and children. It is the only national organization
making marital status discrimination its top priority. Our website is the most
authoritative source of information about and for single people on the entire Internet.
Our headquarters are right here in Los Angeles. Another example of a social and political
movement starting in Southern California.
There are millions of unmarried adults in this
region. Thousands of them read the Los Angeles Times. They might appreciate knowing there
is a non-profit organization looking out for their interests.
Please visit our website when you have an
You will probably be surprised to see the broad
range of issues affecting unmarried Americans. Our "Recent News" section
summarizes scores of articles of interest to single people. While some are local, many are
national or international. Scores of past stories are stored in our archive sections. We
also list books of interest to all types of singles: solo singles, single women, single
parents, domestic partners, divorcees, widowed people, etc. The site contains more than
300 pages of information.
Maybe someday you would like to write an article
about AASP and the emergence of a singles rights movement. If your schedule is too busy,
please feel free to share this information with the Features Editor at the Times.
Single people are currently in the same position
that seniors were in 30 years ago when they lacked a collective voice in American society.
was formed to fill this advocacy and educational void. Today, AARP is the largest national
membership organization in the nation, with 30 million members. We hope to organize many
of the 80 million unmarried Americans in the same way and to insure that corporate, labor,
and civil leaders pay attention to the needs of singles. It will take time, to be sure,
but it can and will be done.
Please let me know if I can supply you any other
Very truly yours,
Thomas F. Coleman