Bill Handel

Bill Handel

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New Bill Could Decriminalize Sex Between Unmarried People in Virginia

Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage... they go together like a horse and carriage!

Yes, Frank, Virginia is for lovers! ... well, the married kind, anyways. According to state code, it's illegal for unmarried people to have consensual sex!

Sure, it's not widely enforced, but Virginia Democrats say it's time to scratch the "relic of a law" for good.

After many years on the books, the Virginia House of Delegates repealed the "crime of fornication" just last week.

Fornication, in the state of Virginia, isn't legal! And those guilty of the crime could pay a $250 fine!

Delegate Mark Levine, who introduced the legislation to repeal it, said that the law brings on confusion and distrust in Virginians. He proposes the question: If unmarried sex is illegal, then what else is?

It's been an interesting journey through bureaucracy to get the bill this far. The Virginia Supreme Court struck down the law in 2005, declaring it and "unconstitutional government intrusion" into Virginians' personal lives.

Yet, it remained in the Code of Virginia.

Fun fact: Other states have laws regarding fornication!

For instance, fornication is still considered a crime in Idaho. Any unmarried person in Idaho found guilty of having sex with another unmarried person can be fined up to $300, imprisoned for up to six months or both!

In North Carolina, the statute on fornication is a little bit more vague... The statute states that if an unmarried man and woman "lewdly and lasciviously" share a bed or co-habitat, they could be sentenced to six days in jail and pay a $1,000 fine.

Oh! And, it's in the books in Mississippi too! If a man and woman are found guilty of fornication in Mississippi, they could pay up to $500 each and spend up to six months in county jail.

Some states have recently abolished fornication laws, though. In 2018, Massachusetts repealed its fornication crime statute, and Utah did the same the following year.

Will Virginia follow in Massachusetts' and Utah's footsteps?

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