WILMINGTON, N.C. -- A former sheriff's dispatcher who quit her job after her boss found out she lived with her boyfriend is challenging North Carolina's law against cohabitation....
The lawsuit seeks to abolish the nearly 200-year-old -- and rarely enforced -- law that prohibits unmarried, unrelated adults of the opposite sex from living together. North Carolina is one of seven states with such a law....
Hobbs had been living with her boyfriend for about three years when she was hired as a Pender County 911 dispatcher in February 2004. The couple decided they didn't want to marry; Hobbs quit last May rather than be fired.
Sheriff Carson Smith said last year that Hobbs' employment was a moral issue as well as a legal question. He said he tries to avoid hiring people who openly live together, but that he doesn't send out deputies to enforce the law....
Under the law, it's a misdemeanor for a couple to "lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabitate together." The law dates to 1805, but the state actually went to the trouble to rewrite it in 1995.
Incidentally, it was reported in 2001 that a U.S. magistrate in Charlotte, 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.
(Horn is on the board of directors of the Charlotte Pregnancy Care Center, which is clearly a "crisis pregnancy" operation designed to dissuade women from having abortions. Surprised?)
(AP story via DU.)