Hearing on Living Together Lawsuit

Burgaw, NC – Oral arguments were heard Monday in Pender County superior court in a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union.

Emergency dispatcher Deborah Hobbs was living with her boyfriend in 2004 when Sheriff Carson Smith advised her that this did not comply with a 200-year-old state law making it a criminal offense for unmarried couples to cohabitate.

The ACLU filed a case on Hobbs's behalf last year.

ACLU attorney Jeff Miller says he thinks the court will find the law to be unconstitutional.

We have a very fine judge who has some very complex legal questions to deal with, and you can't expect him to deal with them in ten minutes.

Attorney General Roy Cooper says the case should be dismissed because Hobbs was not fired, and County officials are therefore not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Judge Benjamin Alford is now considering whether the case will move forward.