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Old 04-26-2006, 09:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Get Married or move!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnn.com
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Move or get married
Imagine you've bought your dream house. And you've moved in. Now, imagine being told you can't live there because you -- and your children -- are not considered a family. That's the situation facing Olivia Shelltrack, Fondrey Loving and their three kids in Black Jack, Missouri.

They moved from Minneapolis to the St. Louis suburb a couple of months ago. I visited them recently at their five-bedroom home. They told me Black Jack requires all homes to have an occupancy permit, but that they were denied one. They said they were told that because there are more than three people in their house, and not all are related by blood or marriage, they don't meet Black Jack's definition of a family.

As Black Jack's mayor, Norman McCourt, put it recently at a city council meeting: "It's overcrowding because it's not a single family. It's a single-family residence and they're not a single family."

Olivia and Fondrey aren't married and had two of their three children out of wedlock. The third child is Olivia's from a previous relationship. They appealed to the city's Board of Adjustment for an exemption, figuring it wouldn't be hard for anyone to see they're a real family. But they were denied. Olivia and Fondrey told me they came away from that meeting feeling like they were given a clear message: Get married or move.

"Just because we don't meet your definition of a family doesn't make us any less of a family. ... We've been together for 13 years. ... We're raising three kids together," Olivia said.

So the couple called the ACLU. That's when they discovered at least three other families have had this kind of trouble in Black Jack before. The ACLU showed CNN a letter it says it received from Mayor McCourt in 1999 explaining why another family was being denied an occupancy permit at the time.

"While it would be naive to say that we don't recognize that children are born out of wedlock frequently these days, we certainly don't believe that is the type of environment within which children should be brought into this world," the mayor wrote.

The city has issued a statement saying at least 89 municipalities in the St. Louis area have similar occupancy permit requirements. The ordinances are designed to eliminate boarding houses and illegal renting of rooms, but the city now admits its 20-year-old ordinance may not be in step with the times.

And after a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, Black Jack may soften the wording of its ordinance. If the ordinance isn't changed, the ACLU says it will sue the city, arguing it is violating federal fair housing rules and the constitutional right to privacy. In the meantime, all Shelltrack and Loving can do is hope the city won't force them to move.
That's just messed right up. I've never heard of such a thing. More government BS restricting the right of free Americans to live as they choose.

Can they do this?
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Old 04-26-2006, 09:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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yes they can, but probably not for long. and it's not "the government" doing this, it's a municipality, which is far less significant.
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Old 04-26-2006, 09:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A great example of poor exercise of law enforcement. Go to the house. It's not a crack den, a halfway house, a dorm, or a minature hotel. It's two people who have children together- and have, themselves, been together for 13 years. If the only difference is the piece of paper saying they have a civil union (or whatever), then they need to consider how stupid it is to call them a non-family, in the interest of housing permits.

Just stupid.
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Old 04-27-2006, 09:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Lubbock has similar laws...

they use them to kick college students out of houses...

Its not enforced unless someone starts complaining about the people in the house.
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This is appalling

Thought Black Jack was a strange name for a town and didnt see what state it is in. I reread the article and saw that it was outside of St. Louis. Could their appeal being denied have anything to do with them being a mixed couple? I would contact my congressman, or at least sue the city if this was happening to me.

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Old 04-27-2006, 10:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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So sad. I don't understand why people would be so frustrating.
This major needs to be put into his place. Single-family residence? What kind of a cheap cop-out is that? And to say that they don't agree with the environment for a child? I'd much prefer to send children to a loving environment than an abusive one, where the parents just happened to be married.

::attempt to control frustration::

My parents once rented to a family of a similar background. The adults had been together for 5 years, child was from a previous marriage, and was only there half of the time. Incredibly functional and friendly family.

just don't get it.
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I suppose I couldn't live there either...

I have two kids with my "wife". I call her my wife but we did not sign any license or take any vows before a God. And yet, we are still husband and wife to each other and mother and father to our two kids.

This is just small town pettiness... the municipality needs to get over itself.
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It's stupidity. If they are married, best friends, or anything like that there's no reason they can't live there. How many people are just roommates? This is an example of an old law being used by certain people to forward personal agendas.

I am curious why the couple does not marry if they've been together so long. I'm not saying that they should be forced to since it's their choice. I'm curious as to their reasons to remain single.
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The reason for these rules are simple, property values. While the libertarian side of me wants you to be able to do whatever you want with your property, the homeowner side really doesn't want to see his neigbors start a land fill or a chicken farm next to his house. In this case would it be a big deal, no not really, but the concept of single family homes is not unreasonable. Perhaps the definition of a family could be updated, but they are not on the books just to give people not effected a reason to pontificate on how wrong the idea is.

If its just a piece of paper, I don't see what hte big deal about getting married is in this case either, but whatever.
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The law was created to do one thing (stop rooming houses and crack dens) and is being used for another (to promte a myopic view of family).

As others have said, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is a family should be accorded the appropriate recognition.

(just wait until a same-sex couple moves in with their kids).
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlatan
(just wait until a same-sex couple moves in with their kids).
That won't be really impressive until they really are THEIR kids. I can't wait for that genetic debate in twenty years or so
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Old 04-27-2006, 01:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 04-27-2006, 01:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Man what a bunch of Retards. I am sure the town is not a pleaseantville. Is this place trying to reform america one family at a time or something. Pull your head out of your ass Black Jack. I don't think thats fair. What about adoptive parents or extended families?
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:01 AM   #14 (permalink)
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well the city government voted on it...

LINK

Quote:
Town won't let unmarried parents live together

BLACK JACK, Missouri (AP) -- The City Council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town's Planning and Zoning Commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the City Council in a 5-3 vote.

"I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town's definition of family could soon face eviction.

Black Jack's special counsel, Sheldon Stock, declined to say whether the city will seek to remove Loving and Shelltrack from their home.
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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did they buy this house or are they renting it?

I've seen some co-op boards put people thru the ringer before moving in, and that's acceptable (well sort of) but once you are in you are in... If the way these people live is so 'offensive' to the municpaility - why wouldn't they have been made aware of that before they moved in?

The town can pretty m uch do whatever it wants, I honestly don't care, people make the choice to live there, but they should be aware of the restrictins before signing the lease/mortgage/whatever.. before they move their stuff in.
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:09 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I'd bet a crispy new $1 bill that the fact that it's an interracial couple is a large part of the city's refusal to make any exceptions.

Of course, there is a small part of me that says, "if you're going to declare yourself a family, declare yourselves married... then you should get the paperwork to make your assertion legally accurate."

If there are certain things you're missing out on because you won't legally recognize your union, then I have to kinda think maybe you give up those things when you refuse to get the legal papers. You may say, "We don't need to sign a paper to recognize our love/committment/union/etc."

Well, I don't want to have to sign a piece of paper saying I want to keep both of my testicles, since I think that should be implied, but if the government said all left testicles were going to be removed unless you signed a paper recognizing you want to keep both of your testicles, I'd sign that paper.

So what's more important- your scruples, or legally recognizing your home unit as a family? Sometimes you just have to say, "fuck scruples, my left nut is more important."

Does it necessarily make sense to enforce this law in this way? Of course not. However- if you want to live in an area designated for families or inhabitants numbering no more than 3 who are unrelated, you need to be a legally-recognized family, whether or not you agree with the law.

There are lots of laws that many people disagree with, but you still have to obey them until they're no longer laws. This country was founded on, and has continually grown and sustained itself on, the principles of people standing up against what they feel are unjust laws, and for rights. If they truly believe this to be a breach of civil liberties, they should take their issue forward as have all the others before them. You can't expect change to come simply from complaining.

And while many of us may think, "well, in this day and age, you're not exactly going to see a national uproar over a local town issue", this does not account for this obviously backwards hamlet of Black Jack, Missouri. There are still plenty of places in this country with very backwards thinking- and a local uproar may be needed.
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:15 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analog
I'd bet a crispy new $1 bill that the fact that it's an interracial couple is a large part of the city's refusal to make any exceptions.

Of course, there is a small part of me that says, "if you're going to declare yourself a family, declare yourselves married... then you should get the paperwork to make your assertion legally accurate."

If there are certain things you're missing out on because you won't legally recognize your union, then I have to kinda think maybe you give up those things when you refuse to get the legal papers. You may say, "We don't need to sign a paper to recognize our love/committment/union/etc."

Well, I don't want to have to sign a piece of paper saying I want to keep both of my testicles, since I think that should be implied, but if the government said all left testicles were going to be removed unless you signed a paper recognizing you want to keep both of your testicles, I'd sign that paper.

So what's more important- your scruples, or legally recognizing your home unit as a family? Sometimes you just have to say, "fuck scruples, my left nut is more important."

Does it necessarily make sense to enforce this law in this way? Of course not. However- if you want to live in an area designated for families or inhabitants numbering no more than 3 who are unrelated, you need to be a legally-recognized family, whether or not you agree with the law.

There are lots of laws that many people disagree with, but you still have to obey them until they're no longer laws. This country was founded on, and has continually grown and sustained itself on, the principles of people standing up against what they feel are unjust laws, and for rights. If they truly believe this to be a breach of civil liberties, they should take their issue forward as have all the others before them. You can't expect change to come simply from complaining.

And while many of us may think, "well, in this day and age, you're not exactly going to see a national uproar over a local town issue", this does not account for this obviously backwards hamlet of Black Jack, Missouri. There are still plenty of places in this country with very backwards thinking- and a local uproar may be needed.
thank you for the most verbose way of saying (and including your testicles in doing so),"Would you rather be right or happy?"
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:26 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I wonder if there is specific wording in what is or isn't a family unit. If it's specifically "man and woman married with children" or something like that, then it may be time for the rules to change. If not, then it may be time for these people to meet with some ACLU lawyers.

Edit: I loved in St. Louis for 4 years. Unless it's changed a lot since I lived there, I doubt it's a mixed race couple thing.
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:36 AM   #19 (permalink)
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It looks like a blessing in disguise. Do the really want to live in such a judgemental city?
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Whether they want to live there or not, they bought the house. Who knows what they had to do to buy it, what fees they had to pay. Are they just going to sell it (maybe at a loss) and go through the whole process again somewhere else?

This is actual crap. Frankly, if this were enforced in the SF Bay Area, where I've lived all my live, hundreds of thousands of people would be out on the street. Unrelated people rent out rooms and share houses all the time, even in the nicest of neighborhoods. I'm not talking about just unmarried partners or students, but middle-aged professionals who can't afford more than that.

Unfortunately, such laws usually stand because the people they wrong don't have the money to fight them in court. Hope the ACLU goes all the way on this one.

As to why no one told the unlucky couple in advance -- well, the owners and realtors wanted to sell the house. Wasn't _their_ business whether the new owners could live in it or not.

Last edited by Rodney; 05-19-2006 at 12:16 PM..
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:17 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
I

Edit: I loved in St. Louis for 4 years. Unless it's changed a lot since I lived there, I doubt it's a mixed race couple thing.

I read once that there's a sort of dividing street in St. Louis -- all the white people live on one side, all the black people on the other? Not true?
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:29 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney
I read once that there's a sort of dividing street in St. Louis -- all the white people live on one side, all the black people on the other? Not true?
Well I was a lot younger then (k-3rd grade), so my perceptions may be somewhat limited. In my neighborhood, there were whites, blacks, asians, and a few latinos. We all seemed to get along well.
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:34 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney
As to why no one told the unlucky couple in advance -- well, the owners and realtors wanted to sell the house. Wasn't _their_ business whether the new owners could live in it or not.
I don't think that's true. I'm pretty sure if a person tries to sell property without disclosing everything like that they'd be in trouble for it. Of course they may just not have known since it wasn't a law that ever applied to them.
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:48 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Makes one think on the usefulness of law at all. Clearly it seems neccessary, yet such flagrant abuses can occur that the law only turns into a tool for the powerful to get what they want.
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Old 05-19-2006, 01:22 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Its really sad and pethetic that stuff like this is still happening.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:16 AM   #26 (permalink)
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As long as they make their house payment and pay their taxes what should the city care? I learned long ago you can not force your beliefs on anyone. To me it sounds kinda... Hitler of them. Live and let live.
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Old 05-27-2006, 03:24 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
They said they were told that because there are more than three people in their house, and not all are related by blood or marriage, they don't meet Black Jack's definition of a family.
But they are all related by blood or marriage. All three kids are related to mom and to each other by blood. Dad is related to kids by blood. There isn't a single person in the home not related to others by blood or marriage.

Quote:
"While it would be naive to say that we don't recognize that children are born out of wedlock frequently these days, we certainly don't believe that is the type of environment within which children should be brought into this world," the mayor wrote.

The city has issued a statement saying at least 89 municipalities in the St. Louis area have similar occupancy permit requirements. The ordinances are designed to eliminate boarding houses and illegal renting of rooms, but the city now admits its 20-year-old ordinance may not be in step with the times.
Please. The two statements contradict each other. If you want to prevent boarding houses our renting rooms you make boarding houses and renting rooms illegal (though really, I don't see a problem with those, either). It's a morality law masquerading as . . . well according to the statment above, it's just a morality law, undisguised.

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Old 05-27-2006, 08:31 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I read once that there's a sort of dividing street in St. Louis -- all the white people live on one side, all the black people on the other? Not true?
I think that you could say that about most big cities. It's got a ring of truth to it, but it's better stated as "rich vs. poor." I've lived in St. Louis a couple of times. The last time I lived there was in "Cool Valley" -- a predominantly black community at the time. I'm white.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:24 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:45 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I've actually encountered this problem recently where I'm from. I'm currently going to college and living in Cookeville, TN, which is, for all intents and purposes, a great town, IMO. However, I was told by potential landlords recently that they wouldn't rent to me and my girlfriend, because they don't rent to "unwed couples". I was extremely pissed off.


However, it's not a Cookeville thing, just those particular landlords, I came to find out. Another real estate agent I talked to told me that that was illegal. She said that was discriminating against your family makeup and upbringing, because it's basically saying that what you were raised to believe is wrong and immoral. I don't know how true that is, but she did seem in a position to know, but still, there's no telling.


But yeah, it's total bullshit.
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Old 05-29-2006, 03:59 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlatan
I suppose I couldn't live there either...

I have two kids with my "wife". I call her my wife but we did not sign any license or take any vows before a God. And yet, we are still husband and wife to each other and mother and father to our two kids.

This is just small town pettiness... the municipality needs to get over itself.


yup.........same here..........18 years together with 2 kids........no paperwork.


that law is fucked up.


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Old 05-29-2006, 04:25 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I heard of this on another forum. I don't think the bill will last too long. As someone pointed out to me, it seems pretty damned unconstitutional. What can they do? Evict people from their homes they've paid for? Me think not.

I don't have a problem with an individual landlord saying they won't rent to whoever. I really don't want to live in a place where I'm not welcome because of my ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, or choice of partner. I do have a problem with the government regulating where I can live.

Edit: I spell like a retarded seven year old sometimes.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:34 AM   #33 (permalink)
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I'm looking at that and wondering what the effect of a family headed by a same-sex couple would be. In Missouri, same-sex couples cannot be married, so even if a couple was married in the sense of having had a church/temple wedding, they would be considered unmarried for the purposes of this law.

So you end up with a situation in which law A and law B combine to make it so that same-sex headed families can't live there, even if they want to comply with law B.

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Old 05-29-2006, 05:25 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Fuck that, if I were in that situation I would move out and start praying that a meteor hits the city. I hate judgemental fuckwits like that and hope that intelligence takes hold and forces that idiocy out of society. I guarantee it's either objection to an interracial couple, or religious objection to an unmarried couple with children. If it's the latter, they really need to put down the brimstone and work on that "love thy neighbor" thing.
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:07 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
I hate judgemental fuckwits like that
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
I guarantee it's either objection to an interracial couple, or religious objection to an unmarried couple with children.
how can those two statement be in the same paragraph?
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:20 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Gee, this law would preclude almost everywhere I lived after leaving my parents house and prior to getting married (about 10 years). This is just fucked on so many levels.

Most of my rental agreements have specified a total number of people in the premises, but never how related we were and I'm pretty sure the local council will only do something after buying a house if there are compliants from neighbours. I have never told anyone how many people are likely to live in *my* house and I don't see it is anybody's business!
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:08 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
Fuck that, if I were in that situation I would move out and start praying that a meteor hits the city. I hate judgemental fuckwits like that and hope that intelligence takes hold and forces that idiocy out of society. I guarantee it's either objection to an interracial couple, or religious objection to an unmarried couple with children. If it's the latter, they really need to put down the brimstone and work on that "love thy neighbor" thing.
I'd agree that the law is almost certainly derived from religious doctrine, but the application of it and the attitude that there is something wrong with unmarried people living together has escaped the purely religious origins and into the general morality of some nominally non-religious people.

I do suspect that it's very likely more a moral issue than anything else.

Gilda
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