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RICHMOND (AP) -- The thousands of unmarried Virginia couples who are living together would no longer be breaking the law under legislation advanced by a Senate committee.

The Courts of Justice Committee on Monday unanimously advanced Sen. Adam Ebbin's bill repealing Virginia's 136-year-old law against what the state calls 'lewd and lascivious cohabitation.'

Ebbin, a Democrat from Alexandria, said the law hasn't been enforced in a very long time. However, he said that in the 1990s a state inspector threatened to yank the daycare license of a Norfolk woman who was living with her boyfriend. The woman prevailed but only after a nine-month fight.

Ebbin said census data shows about 140,000 Virginians are cohabitating. He said Virginia is one of four states that make such living arrangements a crime.

AP-WF-01-28-13 1741GMT

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