Unmarried couples living together represent a total of 4.85 million in the United States. However technically in Florida as well as Mississippi and Michigan,it is illegal for unmarried couples to live together (cohabitation). It’s defined as two or more people in an intimate relationship living together or sharing a domestic life but are not married. Nonetheless last year 550,000 unmarried couples in Florida filled out a census form indicating that they live together although they are unmarried.
The law has been in action since the 1800’s. It has hardly been enforced, with very few examples aside from a Jacksonville man being arrested for adultery in 2006, when his wife took advantage of the law and had him arrested for cheating, although full details of the case are still unclear.
As we usually find throughout history, there comes a time when we realise that things that may have made sense at that time, no longer do in the present. However no one has tried to revoke the law till now.
If you commit this crime, you could face a second degree misdemeanour and a punishment of a $500 fine or a maximum of 60 days in prison.
The same penalties apply to cheating husbands and wives, of opposite-sex couples. Although it’s fairly difficult to understand how living in an unmarried, honest relationship is equivalent to cheating on your spouse.
The laws apply only to straight people. Some would say that for once, a law benefits gay people, as they can freely and legally live together, due to a loophole in the law. However they don’t have the option of getting married in Florida.
Although there are concerns about the loophole, as if the law is repealed, someone within the state may find a way to reverse the loophole, making it illegal for gay couple to cohabit. This would result in one step forward yet two steps back.
Overturning the law
As mentioned previously no one has tried to revoke the law till now. Ritch Workman, a representative of Melbourne is taking steps to overturn the law of cohabitation and adultery. He also wishes to diminish other laws he believes to be outdated such as the requirement for all bicycle riders to keep one hand on the handle bars.
Florida politicians are not ones to speak about issues regarding relationships and sex. Rick Scott, a member of the Government stated that the law wasn’t a top priority of theirs, and the Sentinel notes that some of the more conservative members may pursue to keep the law, due to their social values.
A state rep who used to head the Florida chapter of the Christian Coalition stated that he is not ready to give up on monogamy and the cultural statement that marriage does still matter and several members of faith organisations also believe the government should give strong support towards marriage.
This post was written by Gail Newland, a freelance writer for http://www.cheapflights.com/flights-to-florida/ the flight comparison experts.