If the law reminds us of anything, its that real life is often more complicated than the laws meant to govern us.
A city in Missouri named Black Jack city, passed a city ordinance that prohibits more than three people living together that are unrelated by blood, marriage or adoption.
That pretty much eliminates college students from moving there because it isn’t uncommon for college students to have more than three roommates in a residence to cut down on the rent and utilities.
This was apparently all done in an effort to meet the definition of “family” that the city wants to have to fit in with its image of being a city of “character and stability”.
Well two people who have been living together for 13 years who have 2 kids together and a daughter from the woman’s previous marriage are being forced to either marry or move to comply with the cities ordinance.
The city refused to grant them an “occupancy permit” for their home because they didn’t meet the qualification for this ordinance.
The city has also been fining them hundreds of dollars a day for not being in compliance.
Now the courts will have to see if the ordinance is constitutional or not.
That isn’t my issue. I just would like to know why people even have the desire to care about what people do in the privacy of their homes this much?
What business is it of yours or mine to define what a family is? And more importantly what purpose does it serve? What benefit do we get from this?
Brenda Jones, executive director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, said in a statement, "The city of Black Jack's behavior is both pompous and unconstitutional. Black Jack's attempt to criminalize people's choice to live together as a family has earned international ridicule for Missouri."
Black Jack city attorney Sheldon Stock responded to this by saying "It all goes to the definition of family. These laws are all over the country. These laws are trying to preserve neighborhood character."
Neighborhood character huh?
I could see it if somehow it was just understood to be an unchallengeable fact that a household with married adult men and women, was the formula for turning malleable little children into productive, responsible, well adjusted adults that go out and contribute positively to the world, but that notion is laughable.
There is no such formula.
Anyone with any sense knows that it is the quality of the relationship of those adults that is healthiest example for children far above all else.
A child living in a home with two mommies or two daddies or two non-married adults that love each other and are supportive and caring and take time with the child is light-years better than a man and a woman that fight all the time, openly cheat on each other and beat the shit out of each other.
So if you want to pass an ordinance that protects neighborhood character why don’t you fine couples that cheat on each other, toss things around the house when they are pissed, don’t attend their children’s soccer games or parent teach conferences or have the police come to the house to investigate domestic disputes?
What kind of neighborhood character do you have if you kick out loving adults that aren’t married and then turn a blind eye to married adults that are horrible to one another and serve as appalling examples to the children of how adults should behave?
As far as I know there isn’t a Black Jack city ordinance against being drunk in the privacy of your own home by 6pm and letting your kids basically fend for themselves.
So what is the point in defining family if your definition doesn’t give you the results that you want?
What is the point of doing ANYTHING if it isn’t going to give you the results you want?
Is that what this ordinance is supposed to produce or is this about image?
If it’s only about image, then how can you tell if someone is married or not just by looking at them?
If is all about image, why not make everyone wear a ring on their fingers (that the city provides of course) so everyone can look the part.