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 GLBT community, marriage makes no sense for a large percentage of GLBT people. Many GLBT 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.
Nicole Cook, Secretary
I honestly cannot remember when or how I first learned about UE. It must have been shortly after its launch in 1998, because I recall mentioning the organization to my Family Law professor during a discussion about same-sex parents, and I was surprised that she had not heard of it. I am drawn to this organization because I believe that the United States government should get out of the business of marriage, especially the business of promoting marriage and disparate treatment based on people’s marital status. My personal mission is to promote respect for all nurturing relationships between consenting adults, and equal treatment for people who are or are not married. On a more personal level, for a variety of reasons including not wanting to exploit my privilege of being able to marry a person of the opposite sex, as well as the fact that I do not practice any formal religion, I choose to not be married.
As an individual, I have been faced with trying to create a legal structure where there is none for an equitable unraveling of a relationship. As an attorney, I would like to work toward improving the experience of unmarried couples who may need recognition and assistance from attorneys, courts, administrative bodies, mediators, and financial advisors.
UE serves an important purpose in raising awareness about the inequalities that unmarried people face in this country. I have known the organization to be a well respected authority for information about the unmarried population, and I would like to assist in increasing the organization’s exposure.
This is an exciting time to join the Unmarried Equality team and I am delighted to be involved!