BY ROB SALERNO – A Florida lawmaker is trying to update the state’s 19th-century legal code to remove misdemeanour offences for unmarried couples who live together and for married individuals who commit adultery.
While the law is rarely enforced, it carries maximum penalties of $500 or 60 days in prison. And quite right. Just look at these two vicious fugitives from Florida justice:
It’s almost quaint that such laws could remain on the books anywhere in the States, but it does have actual consequences. As recently as 2006, the adultery law was used to file a nuisance prosecution against a cheating husband.
Interestingly, the law can’t be used against gay cohabitors or adulterers, in part because Florida’s 2008 constitutional amendment bans recognition of any kind of same-sex union.
For the state that hosts some of the biggest gay events and resorts in North America, America’s wang has a shockingly anti-gay voting and legislative record. This is the state where Anita Bryant started her Save Our Children campaign to ban gay adoption, after all. That campaign got Florida, in 1977, to ban all gay people from adopting children. It was overturned by the state courts, although the law still remains officially on the books. As does Florida’s sodomy prohibition, enacted in 1868, updated in 1917 and scrapped by the US Supreme Court in 2003. Legislators haven’t bothered to repeal the anti-gay law.
And just for fun, here’s an inexhaustive list of famous couples who’d be breaking the law if they moved to Florida.