Virginia senator hopes to abolish law that makes living together before marriage illegal

Virginia is for lovers… as long as you’re not living under the same roof.

The state still clings to a 136-year-old law that makes it a misdemeanor for couples to shack up before walking down the aisle. The official term for this legal anachronism would be “lewd and lascivious cohabitation” because of course it is.

Virginia is one of four states to maintain such a law (the other three are Florida, Mississippi and Michigan) even though countless couples have been flagrantly flouting said law in all four states for years.

Thankfully, as NBC reports, a forward-thinking senator is sponsoring a new bill that would abolish this Class 3 misdemeanour.

Sen. Adam Ebbin would like to see the Virginia General Assembly dismantle a law that may have been relevant when it was passed in 1877, but is pretty funny in 2013.

"These men and women share that relationship openly, and without shame," he told The Virginian-Pilot, adding that he estimated around 140,000 Virginians are currently living lewdly and lasciviously by old-time legal standards and probably don’t feel too bad about it either.

While few people have been convicted of this law in the past few decades, it’s technically still punishable by a $500 fine for a first offence and up to a year in jail if you’re caught again, where those convicted end up cohabiting with way more people than one.

To date, NBC notes that the Senate committee unanimously advanced the bill, but partners in domestic sin must hope that it passes a full Senate vote and review in the House of Delegates.

So if there are any Strom Thurmond-style holdovers left in the Virginia Senate, lovers beware.