Unmarried Equality

Should unmarried couples have the same rights as married people?

With marriage equality being the law of the land, there’s still a group of people — both gay and straight – who are continuing the fight for equality.

Couples that have no desire to get married.

“We shouldn’t all have to get married to be treated equally,” said Sarah Wright, board chairwoman of Unmarried Equality.

Originally called the Alternatives to Marriage Project, the nonprofit was founded in 1998 by Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot, a straight, unmarried couple. They were frustrated with the discrimination they faced for not being married, including when they tried to lease an apartment together.

As long-time LGBT couples are fully aware, before their right to marriage was affirmed by the Supreme Court, unmarried couples do not have rights to one another’s health insurance, can’t visit each other in the ICU in some hospitals, and do not stand to inherit from their deceased partner.

“The privileges of marriage are entirely unearned,” Wright said. “It’s one choice among many, it’s on the continuum of relationship status, but it’s the one that gets all the attention and all the goodies.”

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Gay Marriage Expected to Boost Local Economy

Courtesy Eau Palm Beach

Courtesy Eau Palm Beach

Study shows marriage equality will create up to 2,600 full and part-time jobs in Florida

Just six days into 2015, the year has already proven to be a landmark one for the LGBT community.

Late into the night, the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted and couples across the state celebrated by tying the knot with the loves of their lives. However, some are planning on forgoing the courthouse and going through the motions of planning a wedding — all good news for Florida’s economy.

“Anybody who does weddings, venues, caterers, hotels, restaurants — everybody is going to gain,” Peggy M. Lewis said. “A lot of people would love Fort Lauderdale and Miami as a destination site.”

Lewis owns Florida Ceremonies, where for 13 years she has served as a life cycle celebrant and writes ceremonies for different life occasions. Before gay marriage was legalized in other states, about a third of her clients were same-sex commitment ceremonies. Then, when states started to legalize gay marriage, people flocked to Massachusetts, New York, and other states where they could legally get married.

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Six Couples Sue Florida for Right to Marry

Photo by Brett Hufziger

Photo by Brett Hufziger

Last month six couples sued the State of Florida for the right to marriage.

“Today the majority of Floridians stand with us as we take this historic step toward marriage equality in the Sunshine State,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida Institute. “These couples have been embraced by their families and communities, but every day, Florida laws are denying them the protections and dignity that every family deserves. These harmful laws are outdated and out of step.”

Read the rest of this collaborative story at South Florida Gay News.