• Florida bill aims to abolish cohabitation law

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    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Living with a significant other out of wedlock is illegal in Florida, but anew push, mostly by Democratic state lawmakers, is trying to do away with the ban on shacking up.

    Michigan, Mississippi and Florida are the only states where it’s illegal for a man and a woman to live together and not be married.

    The current law dates back to 1868.

    It’s rarely enforced, but multiple attempts to do away with the ban on cohabitation have failed. However, many lawmakers want it off the books for good.

    Senate Bill 498 is moving forward in Tallahassee. A Senate panel voted Thursday in favor of the bill, sponsored by State Sen. Eleanor Sobel. The bill now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

    Local Republican State Rep. Charles Van Zant has been against changing the law since the beginning. But, Ryan Strickland, who lived with his wife for four years before they got married, says it’s time.

    “People need to adjust as the time goes on,” Strickland said. “Lots of laws need to be adjusted to reflect the times and the feelings of people.”

    Recent census data suggests that more than 430,000 couples in Florida are in violation of the law. That means that they could be fined $500 and spend up to 60 days in jail.

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