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| | |-+  Cohabitation ban
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Question: Do you support North Carolinan's cohabitation ban?
Yes   -4 (13.3%)
No   -6 (20%)
Hell no   -20 (66.7%)
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Total Voters: 30

Author Topic: Cohabitation ban  (Read 957 times)
David S
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« on: May 09, 2005, 04:31:14 pm »
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N.C. Anti-Cohabitation Law Under Attack
Monday, May 9, 2005 2:06 PM EDT
The Associated Press
By STEVE HARTSOE

There are some 144,000 unmarried couples living together in North Carolina, and they are all breaking the law _ a statute that has been on the books since 1805.

The law against cohabitation is rarely enforced. But now the American Civil Liberties Union is suing to overturn it altogether, on behalf of a former sheriff's dispatcher who says she had to quit her job because she wouldn't marry her live-in boyfriend.

Deborah Hobbs, 40, says her boss, Sheriff Carson Smith of Pender County, near Wilmington, told her to get married, move out or find another job after he found out she and her boyfriend had been living together for three years. The couple did not want to get married, so Hobbs quit.

Her lawsuit, filed in March in state court, seeks to have the cohabitation law declared unconstitutional.

"Certainly the government has no business regulating relationships between consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes," said Jennifer Rudinger, state executive director of the ACLU. "This law is 200 years old and a lot of people are very surprised that we even have it on the books."

The sheriff told the Star-News of Wilmington last year that Hobbs' employment was a moral issue as well as a legal question. He said that he tries to avoid hiring people who openly live together, but he doesn't send out deputies to enforce the law.

Hobbs, who is still living with her boyfriend, declined to be interviewed for this story.

Rudinger and other legal experts believe a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law may undermine the basis for North Carolina's cohabitation law, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 60 days in jail.

Arnold Loewy, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the ACLU lawsuit is almost certain to succeed. If the high court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas protects consensual sex among adults, "it's hard to understand any serious argument that it would not include" the right to live together, he said.

North Carolina is one of seven states that still have laws on the books prohibiting cohabitation of unmarried couples. The others are Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi and North Dakota. North Carolina appears to be the only state where the law is being challenged.

The Virginia Supreme Court in January responded to the Lawrence v. Texas decision by striking down that state's rarely enforced state law prohibiting sex between unmarried people. But a Virginia law against cohabitation remains on the books.

In January, the North Dakota House defeated a challenge to its cohabitation law on a 52-37 vote.

There were roughly three dozen cohabitation-related charges filed in North Carolina between 1997 and 2004, according to state figures. But the number of people actually convicted under the law _ formally known as the fornication and adultery statute _ is not clear, said Patrick Tamer, a statistician with the North Carolina court system.

At least one judge, U.S. Magistrate Carl Horn in Charlotte, regularly asks defendants whether their living arrangements violate the cohabitation ban. Horn, who declined to be interviewed for this story, has refused to release violators unless they promise to comply.

"We think that it's good to have a law against cohabitation because the studies show that couples that cohabitate before they're married, that their marriages are more prone to break up, there's less stability in the marriage," said Bill Brooks, executive director of the conservative North Carolina Family Policy Council.

But the Rev. Jack McKinney of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, which counts gay couples among its 900-person congregation, said: "I think the state's got better things to do than try to dictate people's private lives to that degree."


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J.R. Brown
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2005, 04:49:34 pm »
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"We think that it's good to have a law against cohabitation because the studies show that couples that cohabitate before they're married, that their marriages are more prone to break up, there's less stability in the marriage," said Bill Brooks, executive director of the conservative North Carolina Family Policy Council.

Control. That's why he wants this law in place. There is no reason why this man should care how other people deal with their personal relationships. 

This is the strangest law I have heard of in my lifetime. Probably because it was written 200 YEARS AGO.

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A18
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2005, 05:04:24 pm »
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It doesn't violate the U.S. Constitution. I would support repealing it, but not challenging it in federal court. Anyone who supports the latter should be shot.
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jfern
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2005, 05:07:31 pm »
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It doesn't violate the U.S. Constitution. I would support repealing it, but not challenging it in federal court. Anyone who supports the latter should be shot.

Do you oppose what the Bush campaign did in the 2000 election, appealing issues of the Florida election to federal court?
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opebo
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2005, 05:36:04 pm »
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This law should be challenged in a federal court. 
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A18
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2005, 06:05:06 pm »
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If a North Carolina court nullified part of the Constitution, I would support an appeal.

Opebo, of course, needs to be shot.
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Hitchabrut
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2005, 06:06:34 pm »
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Yes, being radical, I say yes.
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Brace yourselves for me.

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Emsworth
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2005, 06:22:27 pm »
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It doesn't violate the U.S. Constitution.
On the contrary, it arbitrarily deprives individuals of liberty (which includes the freedom to live where one pleases) without due process of law.
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A18
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2005, 06:26:33 pm »
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Due process is derived from Magna Carta. It means the executive branch of government has to deal with you in the proper manner dictated by law.

Taking drugs is liberty. Killing people is liberty. We can take away liberty all we want, so long as we provide due process, and this is certainly due process.
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Emsworth
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2005, 06:40:43 pm »
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Due process is derived from Magna Carta. It means the executive branch of government has to deal with you in the proper manner dictated by law.
While due process is certainly derived from the common law, it is also true that there was no notion of an executive branch when the Magna Carta was issued. Moreover, the Fourteenth Amendment does not specify the executive branches of the states; instead, it specifies the state as a whole.
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A18
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2005, 06:46:34 pm »
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The "executive branch" was the king. The point is, you have to be judged by the law, rather than the will of any official.

It is not, as a matter of textual content, restricted to the executive branch, but in practice it is, as the executive branch is the only one that's in a position to take away life, liberty, or property.
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Emsworth
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2005, 07:25:52 pm »
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The "executive branch" was the king. The point is, you have to be judged by the law, rather than the will of any official.
The king was not just the executive, as there was no separation of powers. All legislative, executive, and judicial power was ultimately held by the Crown.

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It is not, as a matter of textual content, restricted to the executive branch, but in practice it is, as the executive branch is the only one that's in a position to take away life, liberty, or property.
I would agree that, in practice, the executive branch is the only one that actually "takes away" life, liberty, or property. However, the legislature may, for instance, attempt to do so by enacting a law.

For the legislature to prohibit cohabitation, and for the executive to enforce such a law, deprives individuals of the liberty to live where and with whom they please. This deprivation of liberty is entirely arbitrary, and is unconstitutional.
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A18
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2005, 07:43:44 pm »
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That's EXACTLY what the amendment says. LAW. You can be deprived life, liberty, and property, and very easily so: LAW. That's all that has to be done. You have to be judged in accordance with the fitting process mandated by law.

That is a historical fact. Not an opinion. That's all it ever meant, until the Supreme Court started expanding the clause into this "substantive due process" nonsense, which THEY THEMSELVES admit they made up.

They call it the living, breathing Constitution. That's fine, but then don't lie to yourself by pretending it's actually unconstitutional.
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dazzleman
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2005, 08:14:32 pm »
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We should pass these kind of bans all over the country just to keep the ACLU busy trying to overturn them.  It will take years of their time, and millions of dollars of their money.  That will prevent them from engaging in their usual crusade to free violent criminals and oppress religion.
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muon2
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2005, 09:32:24 pm »
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This could provide an interesting test if it makes its way to the SCOTUS. The court has relied on its twin pillars of Belle Terre (1974) and East Cleveland (1977) to define the outer boundaries of relationships in a household that government may permit by zoning. In Oxford House (1995) they nibbled at the ultimate question of whether any family relations may be used in conjunction with the Fair Housing Act, but refused to take it on directly.

The definitions under the FHA are critical to municipal understanding of what zoning rules may pertain to household composition. Even though this is not a zoning law, I'm sure it will have ramifications if it goes far.

In our city we avoid the question of relationships in households entirely. We strictly use floor area and room configurations to determine who (and how many) may occupy a structure.
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nclib
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2005, 10:32:28 pm »
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Of course I don't support this.

No one takes this law seriously here.
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2005, 10:45:47 pm »
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Of course not. I was about to make a topic about this but then I saw this. This is a completely unenforceable law.
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