Video: The Daily Show on Virginia’s Cohabitation Law

by ARLnow.com February 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm 2,588 21 Comments

The Commonwealth was once again the butt of jokes on The Daily Show last night. But this time around, a local Virginia legislator at least got some snarky kudos from Jon Stewart.

The Comedy Central show featured a mock-segment, alternately titled “Virginia Is Not For Lovers” and “19th Century News,” about the efforts of state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) to repeal the state’s long-standing law against an unmarried couple living together. Though rarely enforced, Virginia law classifies “lewd and lascivious cohabitation” as a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine.

Ebbin’s bill, SB 969, has passed the Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate and is now awaiting Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) signature.

  • novasteve

    I’m curious if they’ll mock NY for having allegations of homosexuality being slander per se? Or mock the heart balm laws there?

    • ph7

      Need to keep up, Steve. NY appeals court overturned that last year.

      • novasteve

        Can I take a guess the NY courts not only overturned that, but stated that accusations of homosexuality cannot amount to defamation period? even for people who think it could harm their reputation?

        • drax

          “Can I take a guess

          Is’t that what you always do?

    • Rory

      The Daily Show is an equal opportunity mocker. Stewart had the NYC Chief of Police on for an interview a few weeks ago and pulled out a Big Gulp to drink in front of him.

  • South Awwlington

    If the shoe fits, make fun all the way to repeal.

  • Anon

    It’s worth noting that the bill only passed the state Senate 62-25-13.

    See here for the vote breakdown: http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2013/sb969/hv1169/

    • ph7

      It’s also worth noting that oral sex and other forms of sodomy (you know what I’m talking about) were illegal in Virginia until 2003, when the Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s statute. This law applied to everyone. Absent judicial intervention, it would probably still be the law in Virginia today. So next time you are enjoying oral sex, think of your nine Supreme Court justices, who made it legal.

      • Douglas Parker

        That will forever destroy the enjoyment thereof hereforth.

        • ph7

          Okay, just think of one of them. Ruth Ginsberg, perhaps?

          • drax

            I don’t know whether to like you or hate you for that comment.

    • realreform

      What are you talking about? Just because the US Supreme Court struck down Georgia’s sodomy statute in 2003 (not Virginia’s) does not mean ours was struck down too. Virginia still regularly convicts people for felony “Crimes Against Nature”, which is sodomy. However, they only charge people who do it outdoors, not indoors, but the law was not changed or altered. They simply modified their enforcement. There are literally thousands of women on the Virginia Sexual Offender Registry for simply giving a consensual BJ to an adult man. See here: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-361 It is STILL on the Virginia Code books.

      • ph7

        Lawrence v. Texas is the Supreme Court case which overturned Virginia’s and thirteen other states’ sodomy laws. The Georgia case your reference was Bowers v Harwick, which is the wrong case. Lawrence expressly overruled Bowers.

        The Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas ruled that consenting adults can engage in any sexual acts they want to in private. In Virginia, the sodomy law cannot be enforced, and is not enforced, for private conduct. You can still be charged with violating the sodomy law by engaging in sodomy in public, but that’s no different than arresting someone for having regular intercourse in public, urinating in public, or just being topless in public.

        Lots of unconstitutional laws are still in state’s codes. Backward states don’t repeal them, because they don’t have the political courage, but the failure to repeal them makes them no less unenforceable, unconstitutional, and void.

      • guest

        There are a number of misconceptions about how Supreme Court decisions affect state laws.
        1. A state doesn’t have to be a party to a lawsuit in for one of its laws to be invalidated by the Supreme Court. If the court declares a Texas law unconstitutional, other state laws are unconstitutional as well to the extent there is no meaningful distinction between them. A state could try to litigate a case arguing that its law is different, but unless it really is, they would be wasting their time.
        2. When the Supreme Court “strikes down” a law, the law doesn’t go anywhere – it is still in the state code unless and until the legislature repeals it. The Supreme Court decision just means that it can’t be enforced. States sometimes don’t bother to repeal such laws because removing unenforceable laws from the books is more of a “housekeeping” matter that isn’t a high priority for legislators.
        3. A Supreme Court decision that a particular application of a law is unconstitutional doesn’t necessarily invalidate the whole law. Lawrence v Texas held that private consensual sodomy cannot be prosecuted; states can still prosecute public sex, sodomy or not. If a sodomy law covered both public and private acts, the public acts could still be prosecuted.

  • realreform

    If McDonnell vetoes this bill I will be very pissed.

    • drax

      It will be funny if he signs it, considering the extreme right-wing Christian stuff he wrote in his thesis as a student at Pat Robertson’s university.

  • I violated this law for seven years and then moved to the People’s Republic of Maryland where they don’t care who is shacking up. Virginia definitely needs to quit kicking and screaming as it is being dragged into the 20th century (and yes, I mean 20th Century.)

    • novasteve

      The progressive, fair, egalitarian country of Iceland is about to outlaw pornography. That’s so progressive and tolerant, isn’t it? What do you think the feminist shariah types think about shacking up given their views on pornography?

  • Ian

    What’s even more ridiculous is the transportation funding bill. Working class families, those of us in Northern Virginia, those who take public transportation, and those who are responsibly driving hybrid cars are all getting screwed.

    • Ashton Heights Represent

      Paying their “fair share”.

  • Trev

    “Washing your mule on the sidewalk”


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