Unmarried Equality F.A.Q.


How did Unmarried Equality get started?

Unmarried Equality was founded in 1998 by Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot, a committed long-term unmarried couple. They were surprised and frustrated by the enormous pressure to marry and discrimination that they experienced. After several years of discussion, dreaming, and research, they decided to take action. The organization clearly met a need: within a matter of months emails and phone calls from around the country began to stream in. Since that time, Unmarried Equality’s mailing list has grown to include over 9,500 households representing all 50 states and more than 65 countries. UE staff, members, and volunteers appear in the media hundreds of times each year to educate the nation about unmarried lives. Appearances include CNN, the O’Reilly Factor, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. From November 2005 – June 2011, Lisa-Nicolle (Nicky) Grist assumed leadership of Unmarried Equality as UE’s new Executive Director. In November 2011, the Board of Directors hired a new amazing leader, Cindy Butler who has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. [More about Unmarried Equality].

Is Unmarried Equality anti-marriage?

No, we are not “anti-marriage.” Different types of relationships work best for different people, and we recognize that marriage may be a great choice for some people. Unmarried Equality provides information, advocacy, and support for singles and people who are living together before marriage, choose not to marry, cannot marry, or are questioning marriage and seeking information as they make their decision.

Likewise, we strongly support the right of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people in same-sex partnerships to get married. Everyone should have the option of choosing to marry or not. Indeed, one reason why people in different-sex couples might choose not to get married is because the choice is not available to everyone.

Is Unmarried Equality only for couples?

No, we are not only for couples. UE advocates for all unmarried people including those who are not in a relationship. Visit our page on Living Single to learn more.

Are you looking for more information on common law marriage? 

Common law is only recognized in a handful of states and living together for a certain length of time does not mean you are common law married. Check out our Common Law Marriage fact sheet to learn more about which states do recognize common law and what the requirements are to form one.

Are you interested in domestic partner benefits?

Domestic partner benefits are benefits given to unmarried couples (same-sex and different-sex) that give them some rights similar to married couples. UE believes domestic partner benefits should be available to different-sex couples in addition to same-sex couples. Learn how to get DP benefits, and what to do if your employer has a “gays-only” DP benefits policy and you’re a different-sex couple.

What do you do?

We improve the experience of being unmarried by providing visibility, validation and tools for personal problem solving through our website, newsletter, and responses to personal inquiries. We shape public beliefs about unmarried people through hundreds of media appearances each year. We identify discriminatory laws and policies, recommend solutions, and engage our grassroots membership to press for solutions through targeted campaigns and strategic partnerships.

How is Unmarried Equality funded?

By people like you! As a grassroots, non-profit organization, our primary source of funding is individuals who make donations to support our work. Less than 10% of our support come from sales of books. More than 90% of our funding is from people around the world who care about support and social justice for unmarried people. Please become a donor today!

How can I get involved? 

First, join our mailing list.  Then, consider volunteering.  If you have a special interest or a project in mind, send us a note.

I’m a student working on a research project, paper, or speech. Can you help me?

Because of the volume of requests we receive, we are not able to provide individualized assistance to students working on short-term projects (we are sometimes able to help with theses, dissertations, and other long-term research projects). You’ll find the information and links on this site fairly extensive, though, so we encourage you to spend some time exploring. In particular, you might be interested in our Statistics and Experts Say pages, as well as our Recommended Reading lists. Good luck with your project!

Please take me off your mailing list. I’m getting married.

Of course we always honor requests to be removed from our mailing list. But we want you to know that married friends and supporters are always welcome! Many people tell us they remain interested in Unmarried Equality’s work even after they marry, because they see marital status fairness as a civil rights issue. We like married people as well as unmarried ones!