Pre-marital sex laws in Virginia and the GOP.

Until recently, Virginia still had a law on the books that forbade pre-marital sex (a clever lawyer would note that it’s only pre-marital if you intend to get married).

The law, originally enacted in the 19th century (1800s), makes cohabitation by unmarried couples a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 (US) for the first offense. A second offense can mean a fine of $2,500 (US) and up to a year in jail.

According to a story filed by Poliglot, while the law is rarely enforced, it was used as recently as the 1990s as a threat against a Norfolk daycare worker with the loss of her license, as she was living with her boyfriend .

The law was recently stricken, but not without opposition.  21 Republicans voted to keep the law banning pre-marital sex on the books.

SB969 passed the state Senate last month. Yesterday, the bill passed the House with thirty-five Republicans, twenty-seven Democrats and one Independent voting in favor. Twenty-one Republicans voted to keep the law on the books by registering a ‘no‘ vote for the bill.

Because it’s totally about making the country better and not about imposing their religious dogma on everybody, including the people who decide to seek happiness in ways the faithful do not approve of.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    Yea… There is no proof that the GOP is full of a bunch of backwards religious people wanting to enforce their rigid views of morality and sexuality unto others.

  • Keith

    That’s amazing. Not that one or two wacky outlier politicians voted against it, but that 21 did. That is a hige percentage of politicians who want us all to live in some regressive puritanical bygone time.

  • Jessica

    I think you meant “But *not* without opposition.”

    Crazy Republicans. Wonder what percentage of them had pre-marital sex? I’d wager it’s a pretty significant number.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      You are correct. Fixed. :)

  • Yoav

    They were probably seeing it as an opportunity for Virginia to take the crown of the most backward state in the union now that Mississippi got around to ratify the 13th amendment.

  • Andrew Kohler

    Does it strike anyone else as ironic that the motto of this state is “Virginia is for lovers” ? When I was there on a choir tour and someone mentioned it, I thought immediately of Loving v. Virginia, the SCOTUS case (decided in 1967) that unanimously struck down “miscegenation” laws in all states that still had them. Virginia was one of the states that still had “sodomy” laws in 2003 when Lawrence v. Texas was decided, and generally has a deplorable record on gay rights. And now, it takes until 2013–nearly ten years after Lawrence v. Texas–to get rid of a law against sex by unmarried persons, and one quarter of the legislators oppose its demise. (It is actually *exactly* one quarter–at least they were courteous enough to vote in a convenient fraction.) So, Virginia is for heterosexual, married lovers who uphold “racial integrity”! (The law was called the Racial Integrity Act of 1924–it was not really a ban on interracial marriage in that a black person could marry an Asian; it only prohibited white people from marrying non-whites, suggesting that the “white race” is the only race with integrity to be preserved.)

    By the way, I always put the words “sodomy” and “miscegenation” in quotation marks because I find both of these terms despicable and degrading. And thanks to JT’s excellent point that “premarital sex” only makes sense if the participants are going to get married later, I’m now going to use “sex by unmarried persons” and “sex outside marriage.” Plus, “premarital sex” has a terribly puritan ring to it.


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