Living in sin: Unmarried Florida couples can face jail for cohabitating -- and hundreds have been charged
Hands in jail, behind bars (Shutterstock)

Florida lawmakers have proposed legislation that would finally make it legal for unmarried couples to live together.


Under current Florida law, it is punishable by a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail for an unmarried man and woman to live together.

"If any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree," the law states.

Two Democrats, State Sen. Eleanor Sobel and state Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda, have filed legislation to repeal the law, which has been on the books since 1868.

Lawmakers have proposed legislation to repeal the law before, but previous efforts failed.

"I'm not ready to give up on monogamy and a cultural statement that marriage still matters," state Rep. Dennis Baxley said in 2011.

Nearly 700 people were charged with misdemeanors between 2006 and 2011, according to WCTV.

In 2012, a "concerned citizen" called for Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Keith London to be prosecuted under the law for living with his girlfriend.

"I don't give a darn about London's living arrangement. I may even agree that the law in question is archaic and not well-suited to contemporary times. But the real story is that an elected official — sworn (or affirmed) to uphold state law — is knowingly violating that law," Linda Takahashi explained.

Hallandale Beach officials and the State Attorney's Office declined to investigate.