Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says she is fighting a lawsuit challenging the state's constitution ban on same-sex marriage. Bondi insists she is doing it because as Attorney General it is her job to protect us.
In a press release posted on her campaign website, Bondi says: "anything less than the best defense of our voters' policy preferences would disenfranchise the electorate, undermine the judicial process, and cast aside the professional responsibility that guides me every day as Attorney General."
Of course, this is nonsense. Attorneys General in other states have not pursued similar cases in light of a series of federal court decisions saying state bans of same sex marriage violate the U.S. Constitution.
Bondi explains her position this way: “This case is not about which policy choice is better or worse. And this case is not about whether the debate should continue (which it surely will). This case is about whether states can make their own determinations."
Indeed. And Florida has made some interesting determinations.
You better not be living with someone of the opposite sex. It is against the law.
Yup. Florida is one of only three state that forbids a man and woman from living together.
Section 798.02, F.S.Lewd and lascivious behavior.—If any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Cohabitation - sometimes called "shacking up" or "living in sin" is against the law.
This may be a law that Attorney General Bondi would have trouble enforcing - unless of course she is not living with the man who could become her third husband.
Do Floridians want this law enforced?
Apparently we do.
During this past legislative session, the Florida Senate introduced a bill to repeal the law. According to a Senate staff analysis Florida's ban on men and women living together first became law in 1868.
Today, Florida is joined by Michigan and Mississippi in making cohabitation illegal.
Apparently the Senate believes Floridians want to keep this law on the books. The repeal bill died in committee. In fact, both the House and the Senate have repeatedly failed to pass bills that would repeal the law.
In her statement, Bondi reminded folks she is: "keeping with my sworn duty to uphold the laws of the land."
If our Attorney General is violating the cohabitation law - should she turn herself in?