'Shacking up' may be become legal in Virginia

Current law makes unmarried couples living together guilty of a misdemeanor

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Virginia is one of just four states that has a law on the books which makes it illegal for unmarried couples living together.

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In fact, the 136-year-old law makes it a misdemeanor for couples who haven't tied the knot to cohabitate. It is punishable with a $500 fine for a first offense, while subsequent offenses may carry up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Adam Ebbin, told The Virginian-Pilot an estimated 140,000 Virginians cohabitate with an unmarried partner. 

"These men and women share that relationship openly, and without shame," Ebbin said, according to the Pilot, adding that state and federal courts have made such laws unconstitutional.

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Nevertheless, the law has been in place since 1877 and states that unmarried people who "lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together ... shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor."

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