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Family Values
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Manassas, Virginia, had a statute that has lived only a month and then dies quietly and unmourned by most. It was ugly and malformed; it never should have seen the light of day.

In brief, it was a city zoning law that prohibited aunts, uncles, cousins, great-grandparents from living together under one roof as an extended family. It was--no surprise--a stealth attempt to force Latino families, who often live in extended arrangements, out of the city, out of the state, and as far as the city planners were concerned, out of the country if possible.

This is consonant with Virginia's long history of social attitudes, established long before there was a United States of America, and highlights the persistence of values and prejudices in spite of legislation and education.

The odd thing is, it takes a village to raise a child. It's clear that the nuclear family (mom, pop, child and dog) is not sufficient to provide the nurturing and upbringing and support a child requires. Yet we in this country continue to uphold our traditional adherence to this crippled view of the family. In other countries, in both Europe and Asia, several generations live together and the young and the old are knit into the fabric of the family by bonds of love and life experience.

I think the Virginia lawmakers had a bad case of NIMBY. The law needs to be repealed. It can be reframed in terms of overcrowding and health and safety issues, if need be, but lawmakers need to be very careful about infringing on the private rights of individuals and families.

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