Did you know you’re committing a crime every time you have sex outside of marriage?
It’s true. The state that fancies itself as the place “for lovers” has a law on the books outlawing fornication. Your unwed whoopee is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $250 fine.
Lawmakers tried to do away with the dated statute recently, but their efforts stalled in the House Courts of Justice. Legislators were concerned about possible loopholes that would pop up in the law’s absence. NBC News notes that the charge is often used as part of a plea deal to avoid a stiffer sentence.
The repeal bill was titled HB914. The bill hoped to scrap the law that makes it a misdemeanor for “any umarried person to voluntarily have sexual intercourse with any other person.”
Democratic delegate Mark Sickles introduced the repeal bill. He said that he and other legislators will review and revise the bill before again submitting it to Virginia’s Crime Commission.
In 2013, eight Virginians were convicted of fornication.
Fornication isn’t the only questionable morality law in the commonwealth state. Adultery is punishable with a $250 fine and suicide is a common-law crime.
Anna Scholl, executive director of advocacy group ProgressVA, spoke to the Virginian-Pilot about her organization’s desire to see the antiquated bill repealed.
“I think we generally support the idea of taking these no-longer-enforceable moral laws off the books,” she said. “Government shouldn’t be peeking through your bedroom window to see what’s going on.”