Heard the One about Not Interfering with Consenting Adults?

Florida is legalizing cohabitation because government shouldn’t interfere with consenting adults. What about florists and cake decorators?

Believe it or not, a man and woman living together in sin (as Christians call it) has been illegal in Florida since at least 1868. According to Reuters, “Florida moves to repeal 1868 law banning ‘sinful’ cohabitation.”

The Florida legislature is moving to legalize unwed cohabitation, repealing an 1868 law that makes “lewd and lascivious behavior” among consenting adults a misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

“The times have changed,” Senator Eleanor Sobel, a South Florida Democrat, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.


[Cohabitating couples] are not getting caught much, Sobel said, but some grandparents are being denied visitation rights because they live with an unmarried partner, and that cohabitation status could show up in background checks as a law violation.

“Only three states are left with this outdated statute — Florida, Michigan and Mississippi,” she said.

The committee voted unanimously for her repeal bill, which earlier cleared the Criminal Justice Committee. It is set for Senate floor debate in the second half of the session in May.

In theory, I am completely in favor of this law remaining in place. But in practice, if it is never enforced, then I don’t know that we should hold onto it. People need to know what their government is willing to punish them for. Laws that are seldom enforced become the opportunity for petty tyrannies.

But I had to laugh at one of the Senator’s claims in defense of repealing the law:

Currently, over a half-million couples in Florida are breaking this law. The government should not intrude into the private lives of consenting adults.

Right! Because when someone decides they don’t consent to bake a wedding cake for a same sex relationship, our government never intrudes on the decision.

America loves using Libertarian arguments but most Americans don’t actually believe any of them. Rather, they prefer to force people to do what they want them to do.