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Repeal of the Love Shack law

January 28th, 2013

love shack

The State of Virginia might just be well on its way to making honest men and women out of all of us.  There is legislation, introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin, to repeal the ban on unmarried couples living together.     Sen. Ebbin is the only openly gay legislator in Virginia.  I don’t believe, however, it is illegal for same sex couples to live together.  If that is the case, a whole lot of colleges are breaking the antiquated Virginia law when assigning student housing.  But I digress…..




RICHMOND — A Senate panel on Monday unanimously advanced a bill to repeal an old law that makes it illegal for unmarried couples to live together in Virginia.

It is a misdemeanor in the state, under a law dating to the late 19th century, for “any persons, not married to each other, [to] lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together.”

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) brought legislation to legalize cohabitation, a measure one observer in the committee hearing dubbed the “Love Shack” bill.

“Are you suggesting that perhaps things have changed since 1877?” committee chairman Sen. Thomas Norment (R-James City) jokingly asked Ebbin.

It is likely that no one has been prosecuted under the law for decades, but state officials used it in the early 1990s to threaten revocation of a Norfolk day-care provider’s state license, Ebbin told the committee.

Ebbin said only three other states still have cohabitation laws on the books: Mississippi, Michigan and Florida.

The law also prohibits anyone, married or not, from engaging in “open and gross lewdness,” meaning sex acts in public.

That’s the problem with some of those old laws that are still on the books.  They are used to intimidate people having nothing to do with the issue at hand.   Obviously a day care license has little to do with an 1877 Virginia statute.   The second part of the law, prohibition on “open and gross lewdness, ” is covered under several other Virginia statues.  Apparently no one is enforcing over at the mall.  There is all sorts of “open and gross lewdness” there and in many bars.

At a time when the Virginia Defense of Marriage Act also refuses to grant any benefits of marriage to a cohabitating couple (man and woman), you would think they would want to keep this one on the books.  I can’t see some of those old moss backed politicians getting rid of a “sin law.”   Perhaps repealing the Love Shack law will open the way for some other progressive changes.   I feel the Virginia Defense of Marriage Act is a civil rights violation.  It will be interesting to see if any other repeals follow this one.



  1. January 28th, 2013 at 12:18 | #1

    I think all legislatures should have a committee that reexamines laws and removes them from the books.

  2. January 28th, 2013 at 15:21 | #2

    I was a law-breaker in my younger days! Gosh, I feel like such a rebel!

  3. January 28th, 2013 at 15:32 | #3

    Probably many of us were. @ Kim

    good idea.

  4. Andyh
    January 28th, 2013 at 15:46 | #4

    Great comment from the WaPo article: “Lewdly and lasciviously” living together? So apparently the state’s married couples spend most nights in resentful celibacy, while their unmarried neighbors are completing the Karma Sutra bucket list.

    • January 28th, 2013 at 15:54 | #5

      Bwaaaaahahahahahahahaha!Curse you Red Baron (aka Andy) I just spit tea on the computer screen. Great one!

  5. January 28th, 2013 at 15:59 | #6

    Actually, that might not be too far from the truth…… 😉

  6. Elena
    January 28th, 2013 at 21:22 | #7


    B-52’s Love Shack !!!!

    Oh yes, many a night in clubs dancing to this…..I think I gave away my age 😉

  7. Steve Thomas
    January 29th, 2013 at 10:17 | #8

    Elena :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leohcvmf8kM
    B-52′s Love Shack !!!!
    Oh yes, many a night in clubs dancing to this…..I think I gave away my age

    Elena, unless you danced to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack while it was still charting, you are not old.

    • January 29th, 2013 at 12:44 | #9

      Steve, if you tell me you have the moves of Travolta, I am going to demand a recital. :mrgreen:

  8. Steve Thomas
    January 29th, 2013 at 14:00 | #10

    Moon-howler :Steve, if you tell me you have the moves of Travolta, I am going to demand a recital.

    Moon, there was a time when I had the moves. Now, the only thing missing to make me look like Frankenstein on the dancefloor, is bolts in my neck.

    • January 29th, 2013 at 14:45 | #11

      @Steve Thomas, ice tea on computer screen again!!!! too funny. Shall I cancel that recital request?

  9. Scout
    January 29th, 2013 at 22:49 | #12

    Under this law, how was it possible for same-sex roomates to share an apartment? I guess as long as they were not “lewd and lascivious” it was OK. But how could we know? Who did the checks?

  10. January 29th, 2013 at 22:50 | #14

    Man! I wish that I had known that it was illegal. That would have made it ever so much more fun!

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