Virginia Bill Would Finally Make Cohabitation Legal

Couples living together in Virginia are breaking the law. A state senator and delegate are looking to change that.

A law dating to the late 19th-century makes it a misdemeanor for “any persons, not married to each other, [to] lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together.”

Probably no one has been prosecuted under the law for decades, but state officials used it as recently as the early 1990s to threaten revocation of a daycare provider’s state license, said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who has brought the bill with Del Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax). The measure comes before a Senate committee Monday.

“It’s an 1877 law. I think it’s time to revise that,” said Darlene K. Davis, 73, of Norfolk, who nearly lost her daycare license after a state inspector learned she and her boyfriend of 16 years lived together.

“She said, ‘You live in sin,’” Davis said.

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