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Divorce Law and Court Case News
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September 12, 2011. Cohabitation is a Crime: Florida Law

Check out this Divorce law and Court Case News: 

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By Josh D. Simon

There are a few quirky laws on the Florida books that, one hopes, are so archaic and inane that the only reason they exist is because an abundance of common sense has made investing the time, money and effort to repeal them unnecessary.

For example…

  • It’s illegal to have sexual relations with a porcupine (ouch)
  • If you tie your elephant to a meter, make sure you pay the fee or else Dumbo may get a parking ticket
  • Singing in public while wearing a bathing suit could earn you a stiff fine and maybe even some jail time

However, alongside those -- and other -- weird laws is one that a Florida lawmaker wants pulled from the books, because according to him it’s embarrassingly and even dangerously out of date.

The aforementioned Floridian on a mission is Republican Ritch Workman, who filed legislation HB 4021 last week in an attempt to repeal Florida statute 798.02, which makes cohabitating with someone isn’t a spouse a second-degree misdemeanor; one that’s punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

As the statute boldly states: "If any man or woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together ... they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree."  

Apparently, that makes the nearly 550,000 Floridians who identified themselves in the 2010 census as being an “unmarried partner” blatant lawbreakers.  

However, what’s even more surprising than the fact that this anachronistic statute exists, is that there is actual opposition to having it repealed by those who think that legalizing cohabitation is the government’s way of encouraging it as an alternative to marriage; a step that some feel is harmful to children.  

And while this opposition is not in the same category as other legislative resistance, since even those against HB 4021 admit that enforcing the statute is a practical impossibility, it does raise some questions about what role the government has – or doesn’t have – in shaping the private, marital lives of citizens.  

"The government has always done this kind of thing," Glenn Stanton, from the advocacy group Focus on the Family, told CNN. "The state does have an interest in clearly making sure that someone does not go out and sleep with whomever they want to."

It’s a view that Workman doesn’t share. “What you do in your bedroom is your business, not the business of my great state," he said. "Quite frankly, I just want [the statute] gone...The fact is, it's outdated, it's old, and it needs to go."

Source: CNN.com


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