Amid the bleak results of this year’s session of the Virginia General Assembly, there have been a few bright spots. On Friday, one of those bright spots shown through.
The House Courts of Justice Committee unanimously passed Sen. Adam Ebbin’s bill, SB969,which repeals the commonwealth’s 136-year-old archaic law that prohibits unmarried Virginia couples from living together.
Last month, Ebbin’s cohabitation bill passed the full Senate on a 40-0 vote. Now, the full House must vote to pass Ebbin’s bill.
According to Ebbin, census data shows that close to 140,000 Virginians are living together, unmarried. Ebbin also noted that Virginia is 1 of 4 states in the country that still makes cohabitation a crime. Go figure!
Regardless of how frequently the law has been enforced, a repeal of Virginia’s cohabitation law would be a symbolic step in the direction of progress, a sign that Virginia is finally ready to shed those elements of its past that no longer make sense in the present.
Progress, however, isn’t a word readily associated with the Virginia House of Delegates, so SB969’s movement through the House is by no means guaranteed. Perhaps, for example, unmarried couples living together is a sign of ‘godlessness’ or moral degeneration that should not be condoned.
SB969 will be a litmus test for just how in-tune Virginia’s House Republicans are with the opinions of most Virginians. That is, if SB969 fails to pass the full House of Delegates, it will be another demonstration of just how out-of-touch House Republicans are with the rest of Virginia (even if we already know they are extremely out-of-touch!).