Bill could legalise cohabitation in Florida

cohabitation

A bill which would legalise cohabitation in Florida has been approved by the state’s House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

Florida, Michigan and Mississippi are the only three US states to still overtly ban living together without marriage. In Florida, a law dating back to 1868 states that it is sinful for an unmarried man and woman to live together as man and wife, making the offence subject to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Unsurprisingly, it is no longer enforced, and 2014 census results suggested that as many as 438,000 modern Florida residents are technically in breach. The draft bill was introduced by Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives. If passed, it would repeal the 1868 Act.

Vasilinda argued that the aging legislation was both impractical and discriminatory because it does not apply to the 37,000 same sex couples living in Florida. The Subcommittee approved her bill by 11 votes to two. It will now proceed to the state Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

Photo of Florida state capital Tallahassee by Robert Hudson via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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