- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2000

A federal judge maneuvered around a little-used Virginia law yesterday and spared a convicted animal-rights activist from choosing between marrying her fianc and leaving the home they share.

Arathi Jayaram of Norfolk, sentenced to community service and probation for throwing a pie at Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman in May, had been told by her probation officer to marry or move.

Virginia is one of 12 states that still outlaws cohabitation living together as man and wife without being married.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay yesterday granted Miss Jayaram unsupervised probation, essentially choosing to ignore the law, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the group Miss Jayaram represents.

"I guess the fornication police are going to be disbanded in Norfolk," said Phillip Hirschkop, Miss Jayaram's attorney.

"I think it shows there are many archaic laws in Virginia," said Miss Jayaram, whose community service has been reduced from 500 hours to 280. "Even my probation officer told me she thought this was outrageous."

Miss Jayaram's federal probation officer has referred calls to her superior. Ralph Pacy, deputy chief of probation in the Norfolk division, said he would not comment on the case.

Authorities charged Miss Jayaram with assault on a Cabinet official after she threw a tofu cream pie at Mr. Glickman on May 30. He had just begun his speech at the National Nutrition Summit in Washington and narrowly escaped being hit in the face.

PETA officials said Mr. Glickman ducked and got some pie on the back of his suit.

"It wasn't a very well-balanced meal she threw at me," Mr. Glickman said after the incident, captured on television. It "shows people feel very strongly about food and food issues."

Security guards quickly escorted Miss Jayaram away as she shouted, "Shame on you for promoting meat."

She was convicted of a misdemeanor in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month and sentenced to two years probation and community service. The court ordered that supervision of probation be transferred to Norfolk.

Miss Jayaram reported to her probation officer and, when asked for an address, said she just signed a lease with her fiance. The officer told her she had a week to get married or move out.

Virginia Delegate R. Steven Landes, Augusta Republican, has been working for years to rid the state of its antiquated laws. He successfully reversed a law that forbade Virginians from walking on the grass at the state Capitol.

But Mr. Landes said he would not touch the cohabitation issue.

"I think the institution of marriage is important," said Mr. Landes, who represents the central Shenandoah Valley. "I think the majority of the people I represent will still like to see the law on the books."

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