Sarah Wright, Board Chair
My experience of marriage is best expressed in Michael Maslin’s cartoon titled, “Man driving sports car with cans and sign hanging from trunk reading ‘Never Married!’ published in the New Yorker on November 16, 1998. This was the same year the Alternatives to Marriage Project was founded by Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot. I was never married then, and I am never married now. When prompted to check a “marital status” box, I cross them all out and write “NONE” in big bold letters.
Countless married and unmarried people agree with political science professor Jyl Josephson that there is a need to “rethink many aspects of the legal regulation of families and intimate life as they affect democratic citizenship” and with social psychologist Bella DePaulo’s observation that “Even if same-sex marriage rights prevails in all 50 states,
unmarried Americans of all sexual orientations remain second class citizens.” We agree because we are living proof.
I initially served on the board of the Alternatives to Marriage Project ten years ago. I am thrilled to return now to Unmarried Equality, at a time when more and more people think beyond marriage. Timing is everything, and now that most Americans spend the majority of their lives unmarried, we know there is much work to do. It is a privilege to be involved with UE and all who share our core beliefs: that marriage is only one of many acceptable family forms, and that society should recognize and support healthy relationships in all their diversity.
Gordon Morris, Treasurer
I am currently President and CEO of Toye Corporation, a manufacturer of security systems in Los Angeles. I have spent over 30 years in sales, marketing and engineering in various corporations throughout the U.S. I was an officer in the U.S. Army for two years.
I have worked in many corporate boards including my condominium association for seven years as treasurer and president. During my tenure we experienced the Northridge earthquake which involved $3,000,000 dollars of repairs, and three SBA loans. I am currently on the board of four non-profit organizations. I have been the president of our local gay, lesbian and transgender square dancing club in Los Angeles for the last eight years. I came out as gay at the age of 35. In 1982 it was not easy to be out as a gay person. Since marriage was not an option, I was very aware of the discrimination of being single and being denied the over 1000 rights and privileges conveyed by marriage. I have remained single for my entire life.
About 20 years ago I heard about a group in the Los Angeles area supporting unmarried people, and got on their mailing list. That list worked its way to UE, and I became involved with UE in 2009. I find the goals of UE are very much in line with my concerns about discrimination and gay rights. Although the right to marry has recently been a leading controversy in the LGBT community, marriage makes no sense for a large percentage of LGBT people. Many LGBT couples do not want children or the financial entanglements of marriage.
The LGBT community has made wonderful progress in the last decade. I would very much like to see the same progress for unmarried people. I feel that UE is in an excellent position to participate in that progress. We have a long way to go, and I hope that I can be part of that journey.
Julia Weber, Secretary
Julia F. Weber, JD, MSW
My work with Unmarried Equality is part of efforts I’ve undertaken throughout my career to address discrimination and to help individuals and families. I have had the great privilege of working as a mediator with people forming their families through adoption, alternative insemination, marriage, and living together and with those ending or re-forming their relationships through divorce and separation. As a child of the sixties and seventies, I grew up learning to value the fundamental importance of legal equality and the necessity of fighting to create and maintain that basic right.
For the last 30 years, I have been engaged in anti-bias work and involved with movements working for change, learning about and teaching on issues related to race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and class. There is enormous power for people in having a cultural and legal context for defining their relationships and being able to access certain benefits or protections as a result –
and great danger in marginalizing people who don’t fit legal definitions of family when we don’t recognize the various ways people connect with and care for each other. I believe in the power of social change movements to help shape our collective and individual experiences; I see Unmarried Equality’s work as part of a rich tradition of efforts designed to help develop a broader and more inclusive understanding of people’s lives and relationships. I welcome the chance to work with Unmarried Equality members to draw attention to this important area and to collaborate with others to make necessary changes to more fully support and make real fundamental notions of fairness, justice, and equality.