SEATTLE, Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Changing demographics and attitudes show that marriage is no longer the assumed outcome of a successful relationship. One hundred twelve million (112 million) people in the U.S., or 47% of adults, are not married. (U.S. Census 2010) Some of these people are unmarried by choice, some by circumstance. Some live alone, some as couples, and some in families. They may or may not be parents.
Today, in honor of Valentine's Day and love in all its forms, the Alternatives to Marriage Project announces its new name – UNMARRIED EQUALITY (UE). The mission of this organization, founded in 1998, is to stand up for fairness and equal treatment of all people regardless of marital status. It is the only national organization to represent all unmarried people. And it has the largest collection of resources relating to issues of discrimination based on marital status anywhere in the country (and possibly the world).
Cindy Butler, Unmarried Equality's executive director, points out that, "The highly organized and vocal movement for same-sex marriage, has begun the process of garnering equal rights for a small constituency in this country. While we support the right of anyone who wants to to get married, this movement reinforces the idea that marriage is the only successful outcome for a relationship. With 47% of adults leading happily unmarried lives, this societal belief no longer applies."
Almost invisibly, unmarried people are treated unfairly in many areas of their lives. They pay higher rates for insurance (health and car, for example); they may be denied housing; they receive fewer employee benefits; and their Social Security balances revert to the federal system upon death. Their partners may be denied the opportunity to represent them, or to have access to health information in an emergency. They are treated differently in issues related to child custody and adoption. The list goes on. In fact, Federal Law includes 1,138 mentions of the word Marriage, showing how often marital status is used as a criterion for decision-making in the United States.
Life in this country is also more expensive for unmarried people. For people living alone, mortgages, leases, utility costs, car payments, etc. must be paid by one person rather than shared by two. Solos pay more for travel, are unable to take advantage of cost efficiencies such as bulk buying, and find that many discounts are offered to families only. In many ways, unmarried people subsidize the lives of legally married couples and families.
In addition to these higher costs and the inequitable assignment of benefits, unfair perceptions of unmarried life also persist. Unmarried men are often characterized as players or Peter Pans. Unmarried women are sometimes seen as undesirable or otherwise flawed. In fact, unmarried adults – of all ages and myriad lifestyle choices – have been shown in research studies to be more likely to volunteer and to interact with neighbors, and have wider social circles than married couples.
This Valentine's Day, Unmarried Equality celebrates the happy, connected, and love-filled lives enjoyed by those who do not want to, or cannot, marry. The trend toward unmarriage is expected to continue to grow.
Contact: Cindy Butler, 206-226-8316
Unmarried Equality, www.unmarried.org
SOURCE Unmarried Equality