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Florida bill to repeal ban on shacking up takes first step

September 16, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — For the first time since Reconstruction, shacking up together could become legal again in Florida.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a bill to repeal the prohibition on cohabitation, which has been on the books since 1868. A man and woman living together in sin can be fined $500 fine and locked up in jail for 60 days. According to 2014 census data, there are nearly 438,000 unmarried male-female couples among the state’s 7.3 million households.

Florida, Michigan and Mississippi are the only states that still outlaw cohabitation.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda of Tallahassee, said Florida’s statute does not apply to same-sex couples. She said that’s one reason it’s unjust and discriminatory. The latest census data shows nearly 37,000 same-sex couples in the state.

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