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City Council Tentatively Rejects ‘Living-In-Sin’ Rule

February 1, 1989

DENVER (AP) _ Backers of Denver’s ″living-in-sin″ law, which has barred unmarried couples from living together in some neighborhoods for more than 30 years, will have one more opportunity to persuade the City Council to keep the rule.

After hearing more than 80 residents argue over the zoning ordinance, the council early Tuesday voted 8-4 to let unmarried couples share single-family homes anywhere in the city. A final vote will be held Feb. 27.

″I just do not think it’s appropriate for the city to regulate whether you are married any more than we should regulate whether you go to church,″ said Councilwoman Cathy Reynolds, who has fought for 13 years to repeal the law.

Councilman Dave Doering said, ″Zoning is to control particular uses of a dwelling unit, not the personal relations of the people in it.″

But Councilman Ted Hackworth said the 1950s rule isn’t discriminatory because unmarried couples are allowed in many areas.

″We should stand up and say we stand for families and traditional values,″ he said.

Denver’s law forbids unrelated adults from sharing a house in about 8 percent of city neighborhoods, including some of the wealthiest.

Last year, 134 people were reported to be violating the ordinance, said zoning administrator Dorothy Nepa.

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