This may come as a surprise to you, but it is still illegal in Florida to live together as man and wife when you are not married. More surprising is that in the last twelve months, a hundred and four people have been charged with a misdemeanor. One state lawmaker thinks the statute has outlived its purpose.
Think of the year 1868. That’s when it became illegal to live in sin in Florida. The law is still on the books. Which was a surprise to Abby, who moved in with her boyfriend two months ago, after being together for a year.
Abby doesn’t want us to tell you her last name because she doesn’t want to be arrested. “We’ve been together for a while and financially, it was better. And we love each other.”
Then we posed the question to these artists at a senior center: who knows someone living as man and wife without being married. Three of the nine hands went up. Sandy DeLopez’s says her 60-year-old brother-in-law is living with a divorcee.“They’ve been living that way for ten years now and they’ve very happy. And they’re in their early 60s.”
Nearly 700 people have been charged with misdemeanors in the last five years. 104 people have faced charges in the last 12 months. What we don’t know from those records is who they are, where they lived or what happened to their case.
State Representative Rich Workman has filed legislation to repeal the ban on adultery. While he says he doesn’t condone couples co-habitating, he says the prohibition has no place in the statutes. “A little piece of your liberty, a little piece of your freedom is stolen with all these laws that try to dictate lifestyle and are not necessarily enforced.”
New census figures show more than a half million couples in Florida that appear to be breaking the law.
Workman filed the same bill last year, but couldn’t get a vote because most lawmakers found it too sensitive of a political issue.