Saturday, April 09, 2005

Out with Old in New Mexico

New Mexico had a lot of legal catching up to do when it became our 47th state in 1912. It wasn't nearly repressed or restrictive enough as part of Mexico. Yet, it took it 51 years to get around to outlawing cohabitation. Unlike Massachusetts' Puritans, the Hispanic and Native American dominated New Mexico had a more casual attitude about mistresses and unmarried couples, at least until 1963.

Subsequently, Massachusetts dumped its cohabitation prohibition from colonial times, refined in the 19th century, and overturned it finally in 1987. The New Mexican law still forbade such behavior as being against nature. Couples would be fined and ordered to cease and desist.

After the odd complaints against couples, New Mexico debated the law in 2001. A bill to repeal the statute passed the state senate 26-5, breezed through the house, and became law. As Libertocracy puts it:
That anti-love persecutors actually did society a favor and improved the country a little bit by bringing to everyone's attention the petty tyranny and injustice of such an outrageous statute, and by so doing, made people realize that it must be done away with for people to live in peace and freedom from the terror of sex police breaking into their homes because they have no papers that give them permission to engage in politically approved sexual acts.
Today, you can still get in trouble for such forbidden practice in seven states, according to Unmarried America, a civil-rights group concerned with such. It reports:
Nevertheless, laws against cohabitation are still in place in Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. Arizona and New Mexico decriminalized cohabitation in 2001, said Tom Coleman, executive director of Unmarried America...

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