In Virginia canceled a law allowing arrest and penalize unmarried lovers

The house of delegates of Virginia supported the abolition of the «crime of adultery» last week. For many years in the Virginia Code fornication, that is sex by mutual consent with an unmarried man, remained outside the law. The guilty parties had to pay a fine of $250.

According to state Code, unmarried people are allowed to have consensual sex — so the Democrats of Virginia have decided that it is time to modernize the laws of the state.

Virginia is for lovers — the married kind. According to state code, it’s illegal for unmarried people to have consensual sex. But the House of Delegates repealed the «crime of fornication» last week. The state Senate must pass the bill for it to proceed.

— CNN (@CNN) February 10, 2020

Delegate mark Levin, who presented a bill to abolish «punishment for fornication», said the old law created confusion and mistrust of the locals to the laws of the state: if sex between unmarried illegal, what else can you expect from this code?

«We should not be laws, which make most of the population into criminals, — he said in an interview with CNN. — Times have changed — now is not the 17th century!»

It is expected that the Senate of Virginia should soon receive the bill.

The law was declared unconstitutional 15 years ago. But this recognition remained «on paper». The decision to cancel «law of fornication» has undergone a complex and intricate path of bureaucracy to get approval many years later. The Supreme court of Virginia in 2005 declared the law «unconstitutional government interference» into the private lives of Virginians. But in the Code of Virginia, all remained the same.

Delegate mark Sickles tried to erase the «fornication» of the Code of Virginia in 2014, but his bill has not received approval of the Committee. Mark Levin tried to repeal the law twice: first in 2018 then in 2020.

Levin told CNN that the accusations of fornication still had legal force five years ago, when prosecutors brought charges against people accused of sexual offences, citing the law.

«It makes people feel contempt for the law, as many Virginians can be accused of committing this «crime», — he said.

Virginia is not alone: adultery still illegal in other States

«Fornication» is still considered a crime in Idaho. Any unmarried person who has been convicted of having sex with another unmarried person can be fined up to $300 or imprisoned for up to six months.

The law of the state of North Carolina of fornication is a bit more vague: unmarried «cohabitants» can be sentenced to six days in jail and fined $1,000.

In Mississippi: if the man and woman guilty of sex outside of marriage, each of them can be made to pay up to $500 or sentenced to imprisonment up to six months in County jail.

Some States repealed the laws about fornication recently: in 2018, the state of Massachusetts has cancelled its Charter of fornication, and Utah in 2019.