Cities Use Zoning, Housing Code To Define Social Norms

A city does not consider an unmarried couple and their children a family and denies them an occupancy permit.
May 23, 2006, 2pm PDT | Abhijeet Chavan
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"[Black Jack, MO,] city leaders have ruled that because the couple [Olivia Shelltrack and Fondray Loving] are not married, they and their children don't belong [under the city's] law prohibiting more than three people from living together in the same house if they are unrelated by blood, marriage or adoption...The debate over how to define "family" has become increasingly heated after decades of changing social norms. And a growing number of urban and suburban communities are putting their foot down and turning to housing and zoning laws to say what is -- and isn't -- a family."

"...Joan Kelly Horn and her partner, Terrence Jones, were living in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue when a police officer knocked on their front door and demanded to see a marriage certificate."

"The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched an investigation into whether the city ordinance violates federal fair housing laws."

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Published on Sunday, May 21, 2006 in The Los Angeles Times
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