23 Aug 2014
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Legalizing 'Shacking Up' in Alexandria

Councilman Justin Wilson proposes ordinance amending sections of the city's code.

Legalizing 'Shacking Up' in Alexandria

Alexandria’s longstanding prohibition on “lewd and lascivious cohabitation” of unmarried persons—perhaps more popularly know as “shacking up”—may soon come off the books.  

City Council is expected to begin considering  an ordinance Tuesday that proposes amending some outdated and superfluous sections of the city’s code.

Sponsored by Councilman Justin Wilson, the ordinance also proposes eliminating a requirement that new streets in Alexandria be named after Confederate military leaders and also lifting the prohibition of shoeshine stands—dubbed “bootblack stands” in the text—on Alexandria’s streets.  

"These types of anachronistic laws have been invalidated by legislatures and courts around the country,” Wilson said. “It's time to erase this from the city's code as well."

The ordinance proposes striking a section of code that penalizes “any persons, not married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously” associating and cohabitating. According to the existing code, a first offense is a class 3 misdemeanor, while a repeat offense and conviction is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Another existing section of the code calls for all new streets running in a north-south direction “insofar as possible” bear the names of Confederate military leaders. That's maybe an unsurprising regulation for a municipality that flew a Confederate flag above City Hall into the second half of the 20th Century. 

Wilson’s ordinance calls for striking this section, as well as a requirement that new east-west streets bear the names of persons or places prominent in American history.    

The proposal also calls for repealing city ordinances governing the Alexandria Transportation Safety Commission, a body no longer active, and repealing rules regulating rebound tumbling centers in the city.

The ordinance will be introduced Tuesday night during council’s legislative meeting and subject to a public hearing on Jan. 25. 

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