Saturday, September 27, 2008


It's the last day of National Unmarried and Single Americans Week. There's been some media coverage, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to highlight one group whose needs remain unmet when marriage is at the center of public policy. Consider CoAbode, whose primary purpose is linking single mothers who want to pool their resources and live together.

In a world in which marriage is privileged to the exclusion of other relationships, two single moms pooling resources to raise their children face a disadvantage. Imagine that the arrangement CoAbode facilitates works out so well that the two women decide to buy a home together. Now when a married couple buys a home together, they are protected from tax penalties when one dies, or when they divorce and transfer ownership from both to one. Not so with unmarried co-owners, no matter how intertwined their life.

Same-sex couples have documented how these laws have disadvantaged them. I tell some of these stories in Chapter 10 of my book. But that doesn't mean the solution is marriage for same-sex couples. That will only help same-sex couples who marry. The solution is a tax system that ensures that no co-owner loses her home due to tax penalties when the other co-owner dies or when one sells her share to the other. That's valuing all families. Thank you, CoAbode, for getting the word out about meeting the needs of women without making marriage the cornerstone of their lives.

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