- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) —

A former sheriff’s dispatcher who quit her job after her boss found out she lived with her boyfriend is challenging North Carolina’s law against cohabitation.

Debora Hobbs said she was told to get married, move out or find another job after her boss found out about her living situation. The legal arm of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina filed the lawsuit Monday on her behalf.

The lawsuit seeks to abolish the nearly 200-year-old — and rarely enforced — law that prohibits unmarried, unrelated adults of the opposite sex from living together.

North Carolina is one of seven states with such a law. Convicted offenders face a fine and up to 60 days in jail.

“The government has no business meddling in the private relationships of consenting adults,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU-NC Legal Foundation.

Miss Hobbs had been living with her boyfriend for about three years when she was hired as a Pender County 911 dispatcher in February 2004. Miss Hobbs quit in May rather than be fired.

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