Friday, March 02, 2007

North Dakota Joins the 20th Century

In one respect at least (via TalkLeft):

North Dakota's legislature deserves credit for ridding the state of an unenforceable law.

Under the provision, which has passed the both the state House and state Senate, living together “openly and notoriously” while unwed would no longer be considered a sex crime.
Think of all the cohabiting sex criminals who will suddenly become law-abiding citizens.

It's interesting in another respect. In Texas, to establish an informal marriage (or a common-law marriage as most people know it) one of the requirements is that you and your partner have to "hold out" to others that you're actually married, which I would presume probably includes something like living together "openly and notoriously" In fact, Texas courts are somewhat skeptical of claims of informal marriage where the people didn't live openly together.

But alas, it appears that North Dakota doesn't even recognize common law marriage. In fact, only a minority of states do, Texas being one. So if you were going to live together in North Dakota back when they enforced this law, you'd have to get hitched the old-fashioned way.

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