"Olivia Shelltrack finally has her dream home. Her family moved into the five-bedroom, three-bath frame house in [the Missouri town of] Black Jack last month. But now she fears she and her fiance face uprooting their children because of a city ordinance that says her household fails to meet Black Jack's definition of a family.
"Shelltrack and Fondray Loving, her boyfriend of 13 years, were denied an occupancy permit because of an ordinance forbidding three or more individuals from living together if they are not related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The couple have three children, ages 8, 10 and 15, although Loving is not the biological father of the oldest child.
"I was basically told, you can have one child living in your house if you're not married, but more than that, you can't," she said."
OK, that's bad enough. In fact, that's just awful. Who the hell are they to decide what makes a family and what doesn't? But it gets worse - here's where I had my shake-the-fool moment.
They appealed and at the hearing 'one board of adjustment member, Norma Mitchell, even pointed at her and asked, "I don't understand why you as a woman didn't exercise your right to marry that man," before being hushed by another board member.'
I don't know who Norma Mitchell is, but I can tell you without reservation that she's an asshole. The report said, "Mitchell refused to comment." But, I guess they mean to the reporter, because she sure didn't refrain from commenting at the hearing. She referred reporters to the Mayor.
"This is about the definition of family, not if they're married or not," Black Jack Mayor John McCourt said. "It's what cities do to maintain the housing and to hold down overcrowding." Oh yeah, John? What cities are those? What backwards communities of morons have these kinds of laws? Not any I've heard of before.
Shelltrack could be excused for wanting to leave - after doing three laps around town flipping the bird at everyone - but has filed a complaint with the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, instead.
"I refuse to run down to the courthouse and get married just so I can live in my own home," she said. "I love my house. I love the area. I love the schools. We wouldn't have bought the house if we didn't think it was what we wanted."
It's the local government that's not so lovable.
(Keywords: politics, housing, HUD, Missouri, what happens when cousins marry )