To Whom it May Concern:
I, Glenn Tinney and my
partner, Ashley Smith, are two law abiding
citizens who love each other very dearly and
have been living with each other since July
2004. Ashley and myself are not currently
married, but plan to marry in the future. To
our surprise, while attending court yesterday,
we discovered that our lifestyle is considered
illegal by the states of Virginia and West
Virginia. A Judge from the Frederick County
Virginia JDR Court ordered that Ashley Smith was
barred from sleeping in our very own house while
my son is staying with us.
The court gave us two
options, either Ashley and I have to marry
immediately or we have to spend thousands and
thousands of dollars on hotel rooms for Ashley
to sleep in until we do eventually get married
on our own terms. We assume the third option is
that we could never have my son over again!
I love both my son and
Ashley and I now feel like I have to choose
between them. Should I spend my holidays and
weekends with my girlfriend or my son? It hurt
me deeply to see the love of my life crying and
emotionally distraught over this judge’s order.
I know that when my son realizes that Ashley has
to sleep in a hotel he will be upset, too.
Ashley and my son have a fantastic relationship
and they love each other deeply. Ashley has
played a very integral and nurturing role in his
life from changing his diapers to teaching him
how to tie his shoes and now she is barred from
kissing him goodnight and waking up to him
jumping on the bed and giggling about cinnamon
Further, if cohabitation is illegal, then why
do the courts pick and choose who they enforce
the law upon? To our knowledge, the law doesn’t
say that “only unwed parents” can’t cohabit with
other persons, it says “any persons”.
18.2-345. Lewd and lascivious cohabitation.
If any persons, not married to each other,
lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit
together, or, whether married or not, be guilty
of open and gross lewdness and lasciviousness,
each of them shall be guilty of a Class 3
misdemeanor; and upon a repetition of the
offense, and conviction thereof, each of them
shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
(Code 1950, § 18.1-193; 1960, c. 358; 1975, cc.
I wonder then, why were we singled out?
Also, if the judge truly thought we were
committing a crime, why weren’t we brought up on
charges for it? Why can we cohabit when my son
is not around, but can’t when he is? I can’t
see where the law has listed exceptions of any
kind. If the state is going to enforce the law,
they should enforce the law on each and every
person living in these states. We were unfairly
discriminated against because a child was
Both Ashley and myself feel
that our civil liberties have been violated.
Both the states of Virginia and West Virginia
should have no business regulating relationships
between two consenting adults in the privacy of
their own homes. Ashley pays rent, utilities
and is on the lease of our Townhouse, yet the
court just barred her from living in her own
home while my son is staying over!
We have requested the help of both the
Virginia and West Virginia chapters of the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to help us
create a case and take it all the way to Supreme
Courts of Virginia and West Virginia. The
outdated law, established in 1877, should be
removed from the code. I am asking you to help
us publish an article on the anti-cohabitation
laws that still exist in only six states. I am
asking that the newspapers inform the citizens
of Virginia and West Virginia about the damage
it is causing families and children. I also
want to let others who feel that their civil
liberties are being threatened because of the
Anti-Cohabitation Laws know that the ACLU has a
place that they can go to report their case if
http://www.acluva.org/. Virginians can also
support the Virginians for Cohabitation group by