Florida is a funny state that always seems to be in the news for one reason or another. I’m sure by now that everyone knows about Florida Man, the humorous Twitter account that pulls of the strangest news regarding Florida and the people who live there. While most of Florida is obviously not made up of people who find themselves on a Twitter account that was created to mock a state’s inhabitants, there are some aspects of Florida that seem confusing, even to those who are willing to give it the full benefit of the doubt. However, one of the funniest things I recently read about Florida is that they are now finally moving to repeal a law that make cohabitation between unmarried couples illegal.
How did this law even become real? It was passed in 1868 as a way to prevent cohabitation of couples at a time when living together while unmarried was seen as taboo. While it’s easy to understand why the law was enacted (people thought differently back then), there is no logical reason for not getting rid of it until now other than, maybe, laziness and forgetfulness. The law stipulates that unmarried couples caught living together can face both a fine of up to $500, which was very steep for the time, and 60 days in jail. Obviously this law has been enforced for years — after all, there are about 438,000 unmarried couples among the state’s 7.3 million households that are living together. Plus, I think we can all agree that it might be a little absurd to start jailing people for this.
So what is the reasoning behind getting rid of the law? Other than it’s obviously silly, the argument is that it discriminates against heterosexual couples because of the fact that it makes no mention of same-sex couples. This means that, technically, same-sex couples are legally allowed to live together while opposite-sex couples aren’t. In an age where the gay-marriage debate has split this country in two and gay couples still face discrimination to this day, it’s almost funny to see something that doesn’t discriminate as one would expect it too, even though it was simply by accident. There is no chance that anyone is going to step up and fight against getting rid of this law so it’s also important because it may be one of few examples of bi-partisanship this country has to offer.
If you’d like to read more, the link is here.