Florida has just repealed a law preventing unwed couples from living together. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill retracting the law which dates back to 1868.
The Florida House voted 112-5 to repeal the ban on cohabitation on Wednesday.
Last year, Rehwinkel Vasilinda had unsuccessfully tried to pass the repeal during the spring’s session.
She said, “The government should not be peeking under the sheets, frankly, of its citizens. And it’s very impractical to know whether a man and a woman are living together platonically, romantically and so on, and this would repeal even the question of the government intrusion into our homes.”
The 148-year-old ban on unwed couples considers living together as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days imprisonment or a $657 (US$500) fine. However, the law does not apply to same-sex couples because of the way it was worded.
The law stated, “If any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together … they shall be guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor.”
According to BBC, Florida lawmakers have moved forward with the repeal as living arrangements have drastically changed over the years.
Member of Florida House of Representatives Richard Stark co-sponsored the repeal, reported Orlando Sentinel. He argued that the ban had affected not only young couples but senior citizens too.
He said, “I represent communities of seniors, where a lot of them are technically not married. They are living together, but it makes more sense financially or for whatever reason like Social Security to not be married. I don’t think that they want to be considered to be violating the law.”
The move passed anonymously in the Senate. However, there were 5 no votes. The ‘no votes’ was from Republicans.
Although many bills were floated in the Legislature to repeal the ban against living together of unwed couples, they were not carried out. States like Michigan and Mississippi still have cohabitation bans.
There are nearly 438,000 unwed couples among the 7.3 million households in Florida, according to News Channel 9.
Recently Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced that he was going to veto a religious liberty bill. If he does, it would immensely benefit the LGBT community.