US & Canada

Unwed couples in Florida can now legally live together

The co-habitation law was rarely enforced Image copyright iStock
Image caption The co-habitation law was rarely enforced

The US state of Florida has repealed a law that barred unmarried couples from living together.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill on Wednesday that overturned the law, which dates back to 1868.

If prosecuted, offenders faced 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, but the law was rarely enforced in modern times.

Co-habitation laws were common in the US until the mid-20th Century. Two states - Michigan and Mississippi - still have them on the books.

Florida lawmakers pushed for the repeal because living arrangements have changed over the years, particularly among older people.

"I represent communities of seniors, where a lot of them are technically not married,'' Representative Richard Stark told the Orlando Sentinel.

"They are living together, but it makes more sense financially or for whatever reason like Social Security to not be married. I don't think that they want to be considered to be violating the law."

The original law did not apply to same-sex couples.

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