Kicking the Cohabiters

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Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota, Virginia, and North Carolina still have laws punishing the unmarried for shacking up, which is kind of cute until someone tries to enforce one. A North Carolina 9-1-1 dispatcher, fired for living in sin, is suing the state with a little help from the ACLU.

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  1. As a cohabiter myself, This is the fundamentalist issue that scares me most.

  2. David and Jennifer, sittin’ in a tree…

    Seriously, this is an ass-backwards issue whose expiration date is long past.

  3. We should start a union for those who are content to live “in sin”. I try to be a fair guy but at some point you just have to say “fuck these believers!” and their needs to force everyone to live their to way.

    You know what their fear is. Not for my soul, nor yours, but that their simpleminded children might realize that most things really aren’t sinful, and that God is a fictitional character meant to lend weight to the things they don’t wan’t you to do.

  4. I think I need the Mavis Beacon typing tutor.:)

  5. OK, here’s the standard checklist for (Christian) childhood beliefs:

    Santa Claus? It’s really your parents.
    Easter Bunny? Ditto.
    Tooth Fairy? Same.
    God? “No, no, he’s real! And he’ll send you to Hell if you think otherwise!”

    Now, I don’t once remember God bringing me, money, candy or toys. In fact, if I am to believe God exists, all this invisible bastard has done is take away my grandfathers, my childhood pets and several high-quality entertainers. He also saw fit to smite me with acne, thus ensuring my virginity remained intact well past acceptable age boundaries.

    No wonder my parents didn’t want to take credit for Him.

  6. Go back to the article and read the attached comment board. Some scary rationalizations for the law there.

  7. It always comes down to sex for these people. Loved the one about protecting moral fortitude. Loved the follow up about cohabiters “hurting your family, not physically, but in other ways.” even more.

  8. I live with two girls that I’m not married to, does that count as cohabitation? What if I only lived with one?

  9. Jennifer – Scary indeed.

    That’s the funny thing about people who are able to believe without any evidence – they start to think that the truth they’ve chosen for themselves is THE truth for everyone.

    From there it’s all the same behavior, regardless of where on the political or religious spectrum they fall… They all want the same thing – control over how other people live.

    The grooviest thing about the U.S. is that we tend to tolerate people who enforce restrictions on themselves until they unreasonably try to place those restrictions on others. At least we tend towards that goal…

  10. I live with two girls that I’m not married to, does that count as cohabitation? What if I only lived with one?

    Mo,
    That makes you Jack Tripper.

  11. Mo-
    Some guys would say that makes you one lucky SOB.

  12. At least we tend towards that goal…

    We tended to, before the MANDATE of 2004.

  13. My wife suffered a drastic reduction in pay a year before we married. I actually earned more than her on a grad student salary. She was moving to live in the same city as me anyway and didn’t know any women in my city who needed roommates. We did the obvious solution to this situation.

    I guess I’m going to hell for being nice to her.

  14. Some guys would say that makes you one lucky SOB. That depends on what they do together. It could be a lot of cold showers for Mr. Mo. Or worse yet, a brother figure acting as peacemaker between two warring factions.

  15. warring factions + pudding pit = happy mo

    i’m sort of shocked to find out that there are six states with these rules on the books. sort of freaky, no?

  16. Thoreau-
    On the comment board I mentioned earlier someone mentioned a situation just like yours, and I’m afraid to say that if the commenters are right, you and your wife will indeed be going to hell.

    Maybe I can shack up with you two once that happens.

  17. In North Carolina, one of about half a dozen states with such a law, 33 people have been charged with the crime and 25 people have been convicted since 1997, according to the ACLU. There are 118,781 unmarried people of opposite sexes living in the same households in the state, according to the latest Census figures.

  18. David – How does having these laws on the books in six states have anything to so with the 2004 presidential election? (Besides, I’d guess these BS laws were on the books long before Bush’s 1st term, much less his second…)

  19. GG: That there have been convictions in living memory – much less this decade – is unreal!

  20. dhex,
    Oddly enough, I’m surprised it’s only six. Considering how many states had sodomy laws. I think MA still has the law on its books where 6 unrelated women can’t live in the same house together. IIRC, sorority houses had to get a special permit from the gov’t. joe, can you confirm this.

    Yes, I am a lucky bastard, but am I a lucky cohabitating bastard? Or am I a hellbound lucky bastard for this (ignoring all the other reasons why I’m going to be living in the Reasonista corner of hell).

  21. Rob-
    Maybe David was alluding to the fact that fifty-one percent of the voters chose an administration that seems to define “freedom” as “the right to do as you are told?”

  22. fifty-one percent of the voters chose an administration that seems to define “freedom” as “the right to do as you are told?” [by GOD ALMIGHTY]

    And the the other forty-nine percent of the voters chose an administration that seems to define “freedom” as “the right to do as you are told?” [by experts]

    Neither one makes me comfortable.

  23. Isaac,
    Not me. I, along with 0.5% of the voters, chose an administration that seems to define “freedom” as the right to not use zip codes and blow up the UN.

  24. Mo

    Well, me too, but I guess they thought we were statistically insignificant. 🙂

  25. The SCOTUS has ruled that localities can ban occupancy by “too many” unrelated individuals in one house. The relevant case is on Findlaw, here: VILLAGE OF BELLE TERRE ET AL. v. BORAAS ET AL. from 1974.

    At the time, my family lived across the harbor from hoity-toity Belle Terre, but every small Long Island municipality in spitting distance of a beach tried to control “groupers”, by which I mean “summer people” packing a rental property to bursting, and owning a much higher car-to-resident ratio than a “Mom, Dad & kids” property across the street. Groups of students would often replace the tourists once Labor Day rolled around. Belle Terre is a short drive from SUNY Stony Brook. Sometimes the students would take up residence year-round, making a group house in summer a continuous spring break movie.

    Belle Terre seems to say that a restriction on as few as two unrelated individuals would not necessarily be justified on “police power” health and safe grounds the way that 4 or more are, and if the state can’t prevent two same-sex roommates from living together just because they enjoy getting physical with each other, it strikes me as odd that the courts would allow such a ban on similar circumstances for mixed-sex couples.

    Of course, the flip side of this issue are those jurisdictions which make denying an apartment to unmarrieds who the landlord suspects are “living in sin” illegal. The NC law seems to be an affront to Ninth Amendment rights, while the second type seems to violate the owner’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.

    Kevin

  26. i’m sort of shocked to find out that there are six states with these rules on the books. sort of freaky, no?

    I’m not so much surprised they’re on the books as I am that they’re enforced. In Fla yet; hell, half the people I know are lookin’ at jail time.

    I just sort of expected these laws would get the same attention as the ones that require the innkeeper to stable your horse(s) when you stay in a hotel.

  27. Mo,

    Washington DC has a law against unrelated women living together – it’s defined as a house of ill repute.

    In Massachusetts, and many other places, there are laws on the books (usually zoning laws which define “family,” as in “single family home”) that restrict the number of unrelated people that can live together. They’re most common in college towns, where neighbors get upset about 8 males sharing a 3.5 bedroom house, each of whom owns his own car.

  28. Washington DC has a law against unrelated women living together – it’s defined as a house of ill repute.

    Yeah, can’t have ’em competing with the whores in Congress, can we?

  29. Or possibly, can’t have ’em givin’ Congress to high a level of virtue to match. 🙂

  30. http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-754586.php
    Here is a link to a similar story about Christian’s with an agenda. It involve the government appealing a case in which military health insurance paid for a woman’s abortion.

    I lived with my wife for over a year before we got married. It was more of an economic decision than anything else. Her parents were a little upset about it for a while. Not so much because they thought we were going to hell but because of the rumors at their close-knit church.

    Its funny how your christian “friends” can quickly stab you in the back.

  31. I’m just staggered that this law is still ENFORCED anywhere outside of Afghanistan. Two dozen people have been CONVICTED of this in North Carolina since 97?! You have got to be fucking kidding me. We need to put these hee-haw wankers in their place once and for all.

  32. SPD: Seriously, this is an ass-backwards issue

    I think that’s illegal in some states, too.

  33. if the commenters are right, you and your wife will indeed be going to hell.

    Maybe I can shack up with you two once that happens.

    Hell is going to be sweet! According to the fundamentalists, the Catholics are going there, which means my awesome priest will be there. And the scientists will all be there. Not to mention anybody who didn’t vote for Bush.

    Hell is going to be fun!

  34. Slippery Pete,

    Well, I am sure that in Saudi Arabia the legal sanction includes a death sentence.

    ___________________________________________

    Thankfully, not every commentator on that board is a raving religious fanatic. Did I mention my wife and I are moving to N.C. this summer? Crap.

  35. As much as I’m paving myself a highway to hell for just being an atheist, I wouldn’t mind hastening its construction by taking in a roommate.

  36. Finally, religious unity in Israel! It only took hatred of gay people to do it! http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/03/31/news/gays.html

  37. ‘And the the other forty-nine percent of the voters chose an administration that seems to define “freedom” as “the right to do as you are told?” [by experts]’

    Yeah, that’s it.

    God damn, you folks are stupid.

  38. How does having these laws on the books in six states have anything to so with the 2004 presidential election?

    Rob,

    I didn’t mean that they did. I was pointing out that we seem to getting beaten with bibles quite a bit in the past few months. To me, that suggests that many people want to have their values enforced over the rest of the population. We’ve gone from a “live and let live” concept to a “failure to prevent undesirable behavior is an endorsement of said behavior” concept.

    Does that predate the 2004 election? Certainly, but the bogus “mandate” claims have emboldened these people into thinking they are the majority, should rule accordingly.

  39. Frankly, I think it’s great. From a state’s rights perspective I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t have these laws. People who can’t stomach them can either work toward changing the laws, or, better yet, move the hell out, taking their money/jobs/companies with them.
    This’ll leave the religious nuts with their own little paradise which will, I’d imagine, give the rest of us a fine example of why you don’t let religious nuts make your laws. Of course, I believe Mississippi already ranks last in just about every national measure, so maybe this won’t work.

  40. I do believe Mississippi does lead the nation in reported cases of rickets. So there.

  41. David & Jennifer,

    I think we’re more or less on the same team. But David’s language made me think he was referring to the proclaimed “Bush mandate” after winning the election. My bad.

    I don’t mind living by reasonable laws that don’t infringe on my freedoms, and most people don’t get into trouble with the law because they’re following this approach.

    I hope that this country will continue to promote real tolerance (not the enforced madness brand) and prevent interference.

    No matter whether they are a Bible-thumping deacon, an affirmative action acolyte, a PATRIOT-Act inquisitor, or an environmental prophet, the impulse and the goal are the same. And the role of gov’t should be to keep them from forcing their restrictions on those of us unwilling to live by them.

  42. GG,

    Oh don’t worry. N.C. isn’t so bad, but then I’ve lived here my whole life so I could just be filtering the bad stuff out. I also just try to stay near one of the cities or larger towns. Kinda like that movie The Village. DON’T GO INTO THE WOODS!

    hehe…

  43. Oh and I’ve been cohabitating in this state for year s now… come and get me!

  44. Duncan,

    Well, I am originally from Alabama … so … 🙂

  45. JCM: individual rights should trump states’ rights in this case, specifically, the right to freedom of association, backed up by the 14th amendment

  46. biologist,

    I agree with you in both theory and fact, but I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to just give the pigfuckers their little JesusLand, and make them stay out of the rest of our lives.

    I know, it makes for a bad situation for those living there, first amendment freedoms, etc. But they seem to be unable to tolerate most of mainstream society.

    The last thing I want is a national fornication bill.

  47. Gary, North Carolina could be a great place for you to live so long as you follow some basic rules.

    -Bring your own water, of course, preferably Perrier. The water here gives you the runs . . . or is that Mexico?

    -Stay indoors during deer-hunting season. If you must go outside, carry a large sign reading, “NOT A DEER.”

    -Bring your own DVDs, becaues the only movies you can rent here are *Smokey and the Bandit Part VI* and old episodes of the Andy Griffith Show.

    -Always show politeness to ladies. If you’re on a bus, and a lady comes in, be sure to give her a pouch of chewing tobacco. She will be so grateful that she won’t want to take your seat.

    -Same-sex marriage is legal so long as you marry your brother.

    -If you see some railroad tracks, exclaim, “that looks just like my family tree!” They will think it’s hilarious.

    -Be wary of locals who try to “pull your leg” and tell “tall tales” about local customs that actually aren’t true.

  48. I’m strongly in favor of a national fornication bill.

    …or did you mean one that would prohibit it?

  49. Yeah, can’t have ’em competing with the whores in Congress, can we?

    I for one would like to express my outrage at comparing members of congress to whores. At least whores are getting money directly from the people they screw.

  50. By the way, here is some advice for people who move from North Carolina to New York City:

    -There’s a false rumor that they won’t let you smoke cigarettes. How silly! If the cops try to hassle you about your smoking, tell them you’re doing performance art. Not only will they not arrest you, they’ll give you a grant.

    -The natives are very friendly. They’re also very expressive. At first, you may not know what gestures to use to express your friendliness, but if you just copy the gestures that other people use, you’ll soon catch on.

    -Despite their sophistication and hyper-rationalisy (so different from other, more benighted parts of the country), the people of New York also have a well-developed spiritual sense. They express their inner tranquillity by sounding the Horns of Good Cheer that they have in their cars. They sound the horns frequently to prove how cheerful they are.

    -The people of New York are extremely tolerant, they don’t care what kind of sex you enjoy or who you enjoy it with, just so long as you don’t smoke a cigarette after lovemaking, or use a gun to defend yourself or your lover against thugs, or disregard any of the numerous business regulations that stifle entrepreneurship as you and your lover try to earn money, or keep too much of your own money to spend on your lover instead of giving it to the nice guys at the tax office, or engage in hiring practices that don’t meet the government’s approval when you and your lover are trying to make enough money to pay the taxes, or get mistaken for a criminal and get a plunger lovingly rammed up your ass by Officer Friendly of the NYPD, or get provoked by a guy selling you drugs who turns out to be a cop and get lovingly and tolerantly shot.

  51. Ball of Confusion,

    Yes, I meant prohibition.

    It would be a cold day in hell when congress requires fornication.

  52. And BTW, the recently passed anti-gay marriage bill in Ohio covers enough ground that it could prohibit opposite-sex cohabitation as well.

  53. I for one would like to express my outrage at comparing members of congress to whores. At least whores are getting money directly from the people they screw.

    Six Sigma,

    It’s more accurate to say at the whore give something of value to the people they screw.

    You could say…
    … more bang for their buck.

  54. David –

    It’s more accurate to say at the whore give something of value to the people they screw.

    You could say…
    … more bang for their buck.

    That it is. 🙂

  55. SixSigma

    I for one would like to express my outrage at comparing members of congress to whores. At least whores are getting money directly from the people they screw.

    That’s why I amended it with my followup post at 2:03.

    “Or possibly, can’t have ’em givin’ Congress too high a level of virtue to match. :)”

  56. My apologies to whores everywhere for the scurrilous slander.

  57. I’d like to say that I’m embarrassed for my home state of Michigan. Any time I see my state as part of a group that includes Florida, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota, Virginia, and North Carolina, I automatically think “Oh f*ck, this is going to be bad…”

    Of course the fundamentalists are coming out of the woodwork here too. It’s frustrating – if I wanted to live in Alabama, I’d move there. At least in Alabama there’s no snow on the ground today.

  58. Rumor has it the pope is dead.

    For an organization that seems to be all about the afterlife, they sure cling hard to keep even their holiest in the here-and-now.

  59. kmw

    Well according to reports half the church is praying for him to stay alive and the other half for him to “go in peace”.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Pope/wireStory?id=633021

    “Italian news agency ADNKronos, without citing sources, reported that a monitor hooked to the pope had gone flat. The Vatican would not confirm the report, which was widely broadcast by other news media. Another agency, Apcom, said the pope’s situation was critical but that the monitor had not gone flat.”

  60. “It would be a cold day in hell when congress requires fornication.”

    But I believe fornication always requires some form of congress.

  61. Wow, Stevo,

    I’ll have to add some qualifiers next time I say “I don’t like congress”. 🙂

  62. Any time I see my state as part of a group that includes Florida,….

    The great thing about Fla is the wild assortment of whackjobs. We not only have Janet Reno and the senile codgers in Palm Beach who can’t even mark a ballot right we get JEB and the christers as a bonus. I only stay for the climate and the grapefruit.

  63. And no personal income tax.

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