The late twentieth century has seen a fantastic expansion of personal, sexual, and domestic liberties in the United States. In Not Just Roommates, Elizabeth H. Pleck explores the rise of cohabitation, and the changing social norms that have allowed cohabitation to become the chosen lifestyle of more than fifteen million Americans.
Despite this growing social acceptance, Pleck contends that when it comes to the law, cohabitors have been, and continue to be, treated as second-class citizens, subjected to discriminatory laws, limited privacy, a lack of political representation, and little hope for change. Because cohabitation is not a sexual identity, Pleck argues, cohabitors face the legal discrimination of a population with no group identity, no civil rights movement, no legal defense organizations, and, often, no consciousness of being discriminated against. Through in-depth research in written sources and interviews, Pleck shines a light on the emergence of cohabitation in American culture, its complex history, and its unpleasant realities in the present day.