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Bill would legalize cohabitation in Virginia

RICHMOND — Under an old law, it’s illegal in Virginia for unmarried couples to live together. Now, a state senator and delegate are trying to wipe it off the books.

A law dating to the late 19th-century makes it a misdemeanor for “any persons, not married to each other, [to] lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together.”

Probably no one has been prosecuted under the law for decades, but state officials used it as recently as the early 1990s to threaten revocation of a daycare provider’s state license, said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who has brought the bill with Del Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax). The measure comes before a Senate committee Monday.

“It’s an 1877 law. I think it’s time to revise that,” said Darlene K. Davis, 73, of Norfolk, who nearly lost her daycare license after a state inspector learned she and her boyfriend of 16 years lived together.

“She said, ‘You live in sin,’” Davis said.

The state backed down nine months after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on her behalf, Davis said.

“I learned of it last year and thought that it is not only unnecessary but bizarre that Virginia would still have on its book a law essentially outlawing consenting adults from living together,” Ebbin said. “It’s obviously an outdated vestige from a very different time.”

Ebbin said only three other states still have cohabitation laws on the books: Mississippi, Michigan and Florida.

The law also prohibits anyone, married or not, from engaging in “open and gross lewdness,” meaning sex acts in public. That aspect of the law would still stand.

Several members of the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice, which will hear the bill Monday morning, declined to comment, saying they were unfamiliar with the measure.

“[W]e haven’t taken a position on this,” Chris Freund, spokesman for the conservative Family Foundation of Virginia, said via email. “We’re just monitoring it.”
Love Muffin88's avatar

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So, are they totally realizing the ridiculousness of the outdated law or what? I can't tell exactly from the article.
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There are thousands of outdated laws on the books in all forty-six states and four commonwealths fifty states that are never enforced; they have entire websites dedicated to them. It's only when someone actually DOES try to use them and takes it to court that someone bothers taking them off the books.
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Ringoringa
There are thousands of outdated laws on the books in all forty-six states and four commonwealths fifty states that are never enforced; they have entire websites dedicated to them. It's only when someone actually DOES try to use them and takes it to court that someone bothers taking them off the books.

This. There's also a law in Tennessee against women driving an automobile without someone walking in front of it waving a flag. And a law in Kansas against hunting whales from a moving car. People have just had too much time on their hands during the last 230 years.
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My mother had issues with cohabitation with tenates. Between damaged property, they were the first to break contract and we loose out on money. They jointly didn't even last a year they barely got over 6 months. Our singels and married couples did much better till the last three months.
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Heimdalr
Ringoringa
There are thousands of outdated laws on the books in all forty-six states and four commonwealths fifty states that are never enforced; they have entire websites dedicated to them. It's only when someone actually DOES try to use them and takes it to court that someone bothers taking them off the books.

This. There's also a law in Tennessee against women driving an automobile without someone walking in front of it waving a flag. And a law in Kansas against hunting whales from a moving car. People have just had too much time on their hands during the last 230 years.
Didn't know we had whales in Kansas. You sure it wasn't slang for...
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xdivision_whitey
My mother had issues with cohabitation with tenates. Between damaged property, they were the first to break contract and we loose out on money. They jointly didn't even last a year they barely got over 6 months. Our singels and married couples did much better till the last three months.


I'm not sure how her renting out worked, but that just sounds like irresponsible room mates to me. confused
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Love Muffin88
So, are they totally realizing the ridiculousness of the outdated law or what? I can't tell exactly from the article.


There was an article on last night's local news that said the legislature is moving to strike down this "law". Speaking as a Virginian redface , I can say with all honesty that our elected officials have "missed the bus" on a number of issues in our state, this being one of them.
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xdivision_whitey
My mother had issues with cohabitation with tenates. Between damaged property, they were the first to break contract and we loose out on money. They jointly didn't even last a year they barely got over 6 months. Our singels and married couples did much better till the last three months.


That has nothing to do with marital status and everything to do with levels of maturity and responsibility. I've had solo singles, single couples and married couples as tenants - all with varying degrees of success. I've had single couples that were great tenants and married ones that were problematic. I know one couple that lived together and owned a house for something like 20 or 30 years before they got married (and are still married years later).

Being single / roommates can be a possible red flag in a prospective tenant but so can couples that get married too young.
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xdivision_whitey
Heimdalr
Ringoringa
There are thousands of outdated laws on the books in all forty-six states and four commonwealths fifty states that are never enforced; they have entire websites dedicated to them. It's only when someone actually DOES try to use them and takes it to court that someone bothers taking them off the books.

This. There's also a law in Tennessee against women driving an automobile without someone walking in front of it waving a flag. And a law in Kansas against hunting whales from a moving car. People have just had too much time on their hands during the last 230 years.
Didn't know we had whales in Kansas. You sure it wasn't slang for...


You're bad! lol
Thankfully I was between sips of coffee or it probably would have come out my nose. smile
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I suspect this measure to scrub that law will pass.
In this day and age who wants to be the lawmaker known to his constituents as the one who wants to keep unmarried roommates as against the law? There goes the college crowd, unmarried gays, people living together unmarried for tax or other income purposes and a bunch of others.

I did wonder about the accuracy of this statement:
The law also prohibits anyone, married or not, from engaging in “open and gross lewdness,” meaning sex acts in public. That aspect of the law would still stand.

While I agree they won't make sex in the streets legal I'm thinking that back in 1877 “open and gross lewdness” didn't have to be sex in the street. I bet if you french kissed that might qualify back then.
Wow, norfolk has surely changed from when I used to live there. gonk

They live in sin huh? They were dating and happened to live together, I bet you anything that girl did the same when she was younger!
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VirginianRanger
Love Muffin88
So, are they totally realizing the ridiculousness of the outdated law or what? I can't tell exactly from the article.


There was an article on last night's local news that said the legislature is moving to strike down this "law". Speaking as a Virginian redface , I can say with all honesty that our elected officials have "missed the bus" on a number of issues in our state, this being one of them.
I'm a North Carolinian. I know that feel bro sweatdrop
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Love Muffin88
VirginianRanger
Love Muffin88
So, are they totally realizing the ridiculousness of the outdated law or what? I can't tell exactly from the article.


There was an article on last night's local news that said the legislature is moving to strike down this "law". Speaking as a Virginian redface , I can say with all honesty that our elected officials have "missed the bus" on a number of issues in our state, this being one of them.
I'm a North Carolinian. I know that feel bro sweatdrop


I used to live in North Carolina emotion_brofist
Eternal Marionetta's avatar

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Heimdalr
And a law in Kansas against hunting whales from a moving car.


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