GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A bill passed in the Michigan Senate Wednesday would amend a law that makes it a crime for unmarried people to live together.
The law has been active for almost a century. It states that “any man or woman, not being married to each other, who lewdly and lasciviously associates and cohabits together… is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $1,000.” The amendments to the law eliminate the ban on cohabitation.
It is unclear when the law was last enforced.
“This law will help some individuals in our state by reducing their taxpayer burden,” state Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, said on the Senate floor. “It will place unmarried Michigan taxpayers on equal footing with taxpayers in almost every other state. It will bring us to our current century and really just update our laws.”
All Senate Democrats and half of Republicans voted yes to pass the bill and nine Republicans voted against the bill. Those against said it will allow unmarried couples to claim tax benefits meant for married couples.
“The bill before us today will clear the way for two unmarried individuals living together to meet dependency requirements and get those tax benefits,” state Sen. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, said during discussion of the bill. “This is a policy I cannot get behind because there is clear and overwhelming evidence to show that it is better for children to be in a household with married parents.”
The state’s nonpartisan analysis of the bill said it will not likely have a financial impact on the state or local governments.
The bill will now head to a House committee.