Virginia 'Love Shack' Bill To Repeal Outdated Law Advances In State Senate

Soon unmarried couples in Virginia may be able to legally do something that has been outlawed since the late 19th century -- live together.

A state Senate panel voted unanimously Monday morning to advance the "Love Shack" bill, legislation brought forward by State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) to strike an old cohabitation law from the books.

The current cohabitation law prohibits "any persons, not married to each other, [to] lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together."

As it currently stands, a violation of this law is a misdemeanor, and while no one has been prosecuted for violating the law in decades, Darlene K. Davis of Norfolk nearly lost her daycare license due to enforcement of the law in the early 1990s, according to another report by the The Washington Post.

According to Davis, a state inspector threatened to revoke her daycare license and told her, "You live in sin," when she found out that Davis had been living with her boyfriend. Now, Davis said she believes that "it's time to revise" the outdated law.

Laws prohibiting unmarried couples from living together are still on the books in Mississippi, Florida and Michigan, in addition to Virginia. In the past decade, similar laws in North Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia have been repealed.

The original law also forbids "open and gross lewdness and lasciviousness," or participating in public sex. While Ebbin's legislation originally kept this aspect of the law intact, it was stricken from the bill during the committee hearing because other state codes prohibit such acts.

So far, no outside groups or organizations have come forward in opposition to Ebbin's bill.



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