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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Big Trials and Legal Cases
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lethe
Cohabitation

QUOTE
In Charlotte, N.C., U.S. Magistrate Carl Horn habitually asks defendants, regardless of why they are before him, if their living arrangements violate the state's no-cohabitation law. If so, he refuses to release them unless they agree to marry, move or get their partner to relocate.


Apparently seven states still have laws against cohabitation. An"Activist" judge is using this as an opportunity to force his beliefs on other people. I say "opportunity" because a justice should not be considering any other issue but the case before them.

People have argued that cohabitation is bad because
1. People who cohabitate before marriage are more likely to break up during the marriage
2. They perceive it as immoral
3. Kids with unmarried parents are more likely to be disadvantaged in life.

Is this Judge abusing his power by selectively enforcing laws (outdated laws at that)?
Should our country have laws against cohabitation?
If you believe cohabitation is wrong, why so?
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Cube Jockey
Is this Judge abusing his power by selectively enforcing laws (outdated laws at that)?

Absolutely if the question in no way relates to what the defendants are in the courtroom for. If they were in court to settle a traffic ticket and the judge asked this question he would be completely out of line.

However, if the case before the judge was somehow related to cohabitation (although I can't see how that is possible) then the judge would be within bounds asking the question and enforcing the law. The law being ridiculous is another matter all together.

Should our country have laws against cohabitation?

Absolutely not, what business does the government have in who we live with? The only valid argument I could see here is in terms of tax revenue, but even that is weak.
Victoria Silverwolf
I don't think there is any doubt that the judge is way, way out of line here.

The laws themselves are evil laws that need to be done away with as quickly as possible. I note with interest that all but one of the states with such laws are in my own region of the country, the Solid South. (How did Michigan get on the list?) I also live where it's against the law to open a grocery store on Sunday morning, so I am not surprised.

Co-habitation is not always a good idea, of course. In particular, children are probably usually better off in a healthy marriage than a healthy co-habitation. (A healthy co-habitation is better than an unhealthy marriage, of course.) It's also clear that a marriage will tend to be more stable than a co-habitation, but this is not always an advantage. Sometimes it is better for a couple to break up, and the need for a divorce may complicate things. On the other hand, one can certainly name advantages to marriage over co-habitation. It gives some sort of legal recourse to a spouse who has been abandoned, for example. It should be a matter of choice. Which choice is more ethical depends on the couple.
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