Like its travel slogan says, Virginia is for lovers. But if said lovers are cohabitating outside marriage, they are currently breaking the law. But there’s good news for those lawless lovebirds: State officials in the commonwealth are considering a bill that would legalize cohabitation.
Florida, Michigan and Mississippi have similar laws banning cohabitation.
In 2011, a Florida lawmaker attempted to revoke the Sunshine State law, which carries a penalty of $500 or up to 60 days in jail.
As the Washington Post reports, a Virginia law dating to the 1800s states that it is illegal for “any persons, not married to each other, [to] lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together,” though officials say the law has not been enforced for decades.
However, as recently as the 1990s, prosecutors attempted to use the law to take away a day care license from a childcare provider.
Darlene K. Davis, 73, told the Post a state inspector attempted to take away her day care license after learning that Davis had been living with her boyfriend for 16 years. “She said, ‘You live in sin,’” Davis said.
Still, state Sen. Adam Ebbin and Delegate Scott Surovell, both Democrats, say they plan to leave one part of the 19th-century law in place: a provision banning sex in public places.