Now, Just One State Remains With Cohabitation Ban

Mississippi is the holdout as Michigan moves 'into the current century'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2023 12:00 PM CDT
Updated Jul 18, 2023 12:58 PM CDT
Michigan Moves to Repeal Law Against Cohabitation
Repeal supporters said the move will bring Michigan into the 21st century.   (Getty Images/Paul Bradbury)
UPDATE Jul 18, 2023 12:58 PM CDT

Unmarried couples are now free to cohabitate in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation repealing a 1931 law that banned unmarried couples from living together, with penalties of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine, per the Michigan Advance. Though it's been a long time since the law was enforced, some Republican lawmakers wanted it to remain in effect, fearing the societal effects of a decline in marriage. Still, the bill easily passed the state House and Senate. Democratic Sen. Stephanie Chang, who sponsored the bill, said the signing brings Michigan "into the current century"—one marked by a record-low US marriage rate. Mississippi is now the only state left with a similar law on the books.

Apr 20, 2023 12:00 PM CDT

Unmarried couples in Michigan are a step closer to being able to legally live together as lewdly and lasciviously as they want to. The state Senate voted 29-9 Wednesday to repeal a law that makes it a misdemeanor for an unmarried man to live with an unmarried woman, the Detroit News reports. The bill would strike a provision against "lewdly and lasciviously associating and cohabitating together," though it would retain a provision banning any individual from "engaging in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior," reports WWJ. The law hasn't been enforced for a long time, but under federal law, a person can't claim somebody as a dependent on their taxes if their relationship violates state law.

All 20 Democrats in the chamber voted to repeal the law, which dates from 1931, but nine of the 18 Republicans voted to keep it. The opponents included Sen. Ed McBroom, who argued that repeal "is not a promotion of the common good." He said cohabitation has been shown to "decrease the resilience and permanence of marriage and to decrease the potential that marriage happens at all." Marriage, he argued "has been consistently shown to be the gold standard by which a stable society is maintained." (More cohabitation stories.)

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