Cohabitation in Florida Now Legal After 148 Years
Apr 08, 2016 06:53 AM EDT
Cohabitation in Florida is no longer punishable by law. Since Wednesday, unmarried couples in the state can now live together without facing any violation after the governor signed the bill, repealing the cohabitation ban after 148 years.
For over a century-and-a-half, cohabitation in Florida could result to a fine of up to $500 and 60-day sentence, Tribune reported. The law was changed after Governor Rick Scott signed a bill legalizing the act this week, with only five dissent votes in the house and without the senate's opposition.
With the new legislation, Florida now joins other states that regard cohabitation legal. Apparently, living together as an unmarried couple is still prohibited in two states- Mississippi and Michigan.
"I represent communities of seniors, where a lot of them are technically not married,'' said Rep. Richard Stark, a Weston Democrat. "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."
Rep. Richard Stark, who co-sponsored the repeal, said the law governing cohabitation in Florida had affected young singles and seniors. He defended that unmarried couples have reasons why they stay single, including the advantage of being more financially stable.
There are almost 438,000 unmarried male-female couples in Florida, according to the 2014 census data, News Max reports. Cohabitation in Florida law was opposed by Republicans Janet Adkins of Fernandina Beach, Mike Hill of Pensacola Beach, Brad Drake of Eucheeanna, Charles Van Zant of Keystone Heights and Jennifer Sullivan of Mount Dora.
"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," the former law stated, according to Orlando Sentinel.
Scott approved the cohabitation in Florida law without further comment. The new legislation is one of the 20 bills that the governor signed into law on Wenesday.