Thursday, May 18, 2006

An example of why zoning laws (and conservatives) are evil

You know the oft-repeated conservative meme that the family is the foundation of society (implying that individuals are not)? Here’s an example of how that mentality attacks the freedom of people to choose their own relationships. It seems the regulatory overlords of Black Jack, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri have legally defined a family, and if you don’t fall into that definition, you are not allowed to chose who you live with.

The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town's planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

"I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town's definition of family could soon face eviction. [AP]
Has McCourt ever heard of the Declaration of Independence? Has he ever contemplated what it means when ti says that people have a right to their life, liberty and the freedom to pursue their own happiness? Where does he and the five petit dictators of the Black Jack, Missouri planning and zoning commission get off interfering with people and their property? How does the mere fact that an group of unwed people live together in the same house with their children violate the rights of others?

Stories like this one offend me to the core. They remind me that America has deep problems grasping the principle of individual rights--and if this problem is left unaddressed, it will only grow worse.

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