Doesn’t this look like a family to you?

This post was originally published at Racialicious on June 8, 2006.

by Carmen Van Kerckhove
shelltrack(First heard about this case on Blogging Baby.)

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving are facing eviction from the house they purchased in the St. Louis suburb of Black Jack, MO. The reason? This town has an ordinance that prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related “by blood, marriage or adoption.”

Shelltrack and Loving are not married, but they’ve been together for thirteen years. They’re raising three children, two from their relationship, one from Shelltrack’s previous relationship. Despite all of this, the town does not consider them to be a family.

The ridiculous thing is that this law exists to prevent frat houses from springing up in single-family neighborhoods. And in this USA Today article, Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri says that these types of laws are rarely enforced.

And yet in the case of this family — excuse me, I mean, unrelated grouping of persons — the town was pretty quick to enforce it. Not only that, but the city council then rejected a proposal to amend the law to allow unmarried couples with multiple children to live together.

I have to wonder, if this couple were not interracial, would the city have cared so much? And for the record, I’m not the only one who thinks there’s a racial element going on here. Blogging Baby and Broadsheet, Salon’s blog on women’s issues, both find it pretty suspicious.

Meanwhile, Google News reveals that the international press is all over this story. Here’s a sampling of their take on it:

“a return to the Middle Ages” (The Sunday Times, UK)
“City tells family how to live” (Sydney Morning Herald)
“Unmarried, with kids? Not in our town” (People’s Daily Online, China)

By the way, interesting coincidence that Fondray’s last name is Loving. Any relation, I wonder? ;)

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