2004 National USA Week Awards

 

   
Outstanding
Unmarried

American
An award is being given to someone who has devoted her entire life to public service and who, as an ever-single woman, has been an exemplary role model for all Americans regardless of their marital status. 

 

Diane E. Watson
Congresswoman

(Los Angeles, CA)

Single all of her life, Diane Watson has continually devoted herself to public service activities.

She has served the public through various elected positions, including California State Assembly, California State Senate, and now in the United States House of Representatives.

Voting in favor of bills that were helpful to unmarried Americans, and opposing those which were not, she has consistently supported basic fairness for everyone.

Last year, Diane Watson joined Unmarried America as an honorary member to show her support for our equal rights cause.  She also participated in a video-taped interview with us as part of a documentary we are producing.

This year, Congresswoman Watson spoke out publicly in a nationally distributed television news segment to encourage unmarried Americans to work together to secure equal rights and fairness as workers, consumers, and taxpayers.

For her service to youth, seniors, and the economically disadvantaged, and for the example she has set as a dedicated public servant, we are pleased to recognize Congresswoman Diane Watson as an outstanding unmarried American. (Award Certificate)

   
Advocacy
Awards
Awards are being given to individuals who have been outstanding advocates for equal rights and fairness for unmarried and single Americans.

 

John O. Fox 
Tax Reform Advocate
(Amherst, MA)

John O. Fox teaches tax policy at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He is the author of "If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax" and "10 Tax Questions the Candidates Don't Want You To Ask."

Both books include significant segments arguing that the federal income tax laws are unfair to single people, particularly to low-income singles without dependents. On April 11, 2004, the Washington Post published his commentary entitled "For Singles, April Really is the Cruelest Month." In his public speaking engagements, Fox mentions how single taxpayers are treated unfairly under current law.

For his efforts to bring more fairness into the federal tax laws, John O. Fox, while married with two children, is truly an outstanding advocate for tax reform. (Award Certificate)

Christine C. Quinn
City Council Member 

(New York, NY)

Christine C. Quinn is a member of the New York City Council. She was the primary sponsor of Intro 137-B which would require businesses contracting with the city to offer benefits to the domestic partners of their own employees if they offer such benefits to the spouses of employees.

The bill was passed by the city council only to be vetoed by the mayor. Quinn was able to secure enough votes to override the mayor’s veto. As a result of this new law, scores of private employers who currently do not provide domestic partner benefits will soon do so. This will result in thousands of unmarried employees gaining legal protections and economic benefits for their families.

For her efforts to make the principle of "equal pay for equal work" a reality for more workers in New York City, Christine Quinn is truly an outstanding advocate for workplace equity. (Award Certificate)

   
Research
Awards
Awards are being given to an organization which has been funding various types of research about single people and to a scholar who has conducted research about single workers.

 

Marchionne Foundation
Small Grants Program

(Pullman, WA)

The Anthony Marchionne Foundation supports research focusing on people who have never married. Through its Grants Program administered by Dr. Craig Parks (photo), the Foundation stimulates more research with this focus and promotes inter-disciplinary collaboration by researchers from various academic fields.

Research funded by the Foundation during the past two years has included studies focusing on ever-single Mexican-American seniors, the association between health and marital status, and the effects of long-term singlehood. 

Most importantly, the Foundation has supported the work of Dr. Bella DePaulo, chair of the Academic Advisory Board of the American Association for Single People, including her compilation of a comprehensive bibliography of reports and studies on various aspects of the lives of single people.

Due to its financial assistance in an area of research ignored by other major funding sources, the Marchionne Foundation has enabled and stimulated outstanding research about the lives of single people. (Award Certificate)

Wendy Casper, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

(Tulsa, OK)

Wendy Casper is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Tulsa University. In 2003,  presented a paper at the  Academy of Management Conference in Seattle on "Marital Status as a Stigmatized Work Identity: Are Singles 'Closeted' At Work?"

The paper was the subject of a news story published by Tulsa World on March 7, 2004. An abstract of the paper explained:

"Although substantial research has explored the interface between employees’ work and personal roles, most of it has focused on parents and dual earner couples. This study sought to explore an understudied population by examining work-life issues of single adults without dependent children. Results revealed a perception of discrimination among these workers."

For venturing into an area which largely has been ignored by human resource professionals, namely, singles in the workplace, we acknowledge the outstanding research conducted by Professor Wendy Casper and trust that more research will be done about the way in which corporate America treats singles in the workplace. (Award Certificate)

   
Public Service
Awards
Public service awards are being given to an organization which provides assistance with health care advance directives and to an individual who helps people lobby the U. S. Congress.

 

Partnership for Caring
Nonprofit Corporation

(Washington, DC)

When it comes to decision making in medical crisis, the law provides an automatic safety net for people who are married. A spouse has authority to make medical decisions for, have access to the records of, and to visit a married partner who is mentally incapacitated. But the same is not true for unmarried adults.

While medical personnel are supposed to cooperate with "next of kin" in a medical crisis, they must be located and then a decision must be made as to which relative should have priority. What if several close relatives are identified and they disagree as to a course of treatment? What if blood relatives are at odds with a long-term unmarried life partner of the patient?

The law in all states allows an adult to execute various "advance directives" stating his or her wishes about medical treatment and who should have authority and priority to make decisions on his or her behalf. But most unmarried people do not have such documents, oftentimes out of ignorance about them or the financial inability to hire a lawyer to prepare them.

Partnership for Caring is a nonprofit organization which encourages all people to execute advance directives. The necessary forms, and instructions, are available over its website and are also available in printed form through the mail. By doing this research and providing these materials to anyone in need, Partnership for Caring is commended for its outstanding public service which greatly benefits unmarried medical consumers. (Award Certificate)

Juan Cabanela, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

(Saint Cloud, MN)

Elected representatives are more likely to be receptive to the concerns of Unmarried America when they receive letters or phone calls from their unmarried constituents asking them to support our campaign for equal rights.

Our website – www.unmarriedAmerica.org – is a source of information and education about these issues, including a wide range of matters which must be handled by the federal government. Therefore, it is important that our members, and visitors to our website, know how to contact specific members of Congress, especially those members who represent their own district in the House of Representatives or their state in the Senate.

We looked around to see if there was a free service available on the Internet which would help people identify their members of Congress and provide specific contact information. We were pleased when we found "Contact the Congress," an online directory for the 108th Congress. The site was developed by and is maintained by Juan Cabanela, an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Saint Cloud State University.

We thank Professor Cabanela and his associates for this outstanding public service which we have been able to share with our members and visitors to our website who need assistance in contacting appropriate members of Congress on issues of concern to Unmarried America. (Award Certificate)

   
Book Author
Awards
Book author awards are being given to co-authors of an advice and resources book for unmarried partners and to the author of a book for a very special population of solo singles. 

 

Marshall Miller and
Dorian Solot
Book Authors
(Albany, NY)

With cohabitation of unmarried partners at an all time high and with cohabitation now a normal part of the marital decision-making process for most couples, there has been the need for a comprehensive "advice and resources" book for unmarried couples.

Themselves involved in a long-term committed unmarried relationship, and themselves advocates for domestic partnership rights, Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller have published such a book. Published last year, Unmarried to Each Other: The Essential Guide to Living Together as an Unmarried Couple is filled with social, psychological, economic, and legal information for cohabiting couples, whether gay or straight or bisexual.

Not only has the book been helpful to unmarried couples in need of advice, it has been an educational tool to bring the media and the political establishment up to date on the reality and pervasiveness of cohabitation and the needs of unmarried couples.

Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller are outstanding book authors who, by publishing their book, have done a great service to advance the movement for equal rights for domestic partners. (Award Certificate)

Sasha Cagen
Book Author
(San Francisco, CA)

Sasha Cagen is a heroine for solo singles everywhere, a champion for the individual, and an advocate for self-realization.

She wrote an essay – People Like Us: The Quirkyalones – for To-Do List Magazine in 2000. The essay was about Sasha, and a significant five percent or so of the population who like being single, who are not determined to be half of a couple, and who probably will never marry.

After shining a spotlight on this community of solo singles, Sasha wrote a book on the same topic. The book – Quirkyalones: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics – is now in its second printing. The book defines quirkyalone as "A person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple. With unique traits and an optimistic spirit; a sensibility that transcends relationship status."

Newspapers and magazines throughout the nation have written stories about Sasha, the Quirkyalone Movement she has started, and have given good reviews to her book.

Sasha Cagen is an outstanding book author who has done a great educational service by showing that solo and satisfied singles are an important part of American society, indeed a significant part of the international community. (Award Certificate)