Friday, July 27, 2007

At some point, Cobb County will change its name to Stepford, and this will make perfect sense.

Cobb County has not received enough attention lately, and has thus decided to become the latest county to tell nontraditional and working class families that they are not welcome within its borders. From Blog for Democracy, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

The proposal would limit the number of people who can live in a home based on its size - one adult per 390 square feet.

. . . Other Georgia communities - particularly college towns where students irritate neighbors by shoehorning into homes - have similarly cracked down on crowding, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

. . . Under Cobb's proposal, a house must have at least 390 square feet of "total building square footage" for each adult resident and for each car parked overnight. It also would limit the people living in a home to one family or two or fewer unrelated adults and their children and/or grandchildren. Family is defined as parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers and sisters.

This is, of course, a manifestation of anti-immigrant hysteria, which would be bad enough. But like most efforts to punish the underclass, it will often miss its mark.

Most obvious, at least to me, is the fact that same-sex couples, unlike married, different-sex couples, are "unrelated adults" in the eyes of the law, and so face a greater burden under this law. Less obvious are cases like one in Athens-Clarke County, where a similar law forbade two single mothers and their children from living in the same home.

But Cobb County is not without compassion:

Officials say they could make exceptions. For example, if a family wanted to let its adult children live at home, it could apply for a land-use permit.

Truly, their cup runneth over: if your household fails to conform to the nuclear family fantasy, you can apply for a permit - a dispensation, if you will - so that your second-class family can remain in Cobb County.

It should be self-evident that this is wrong. Wrong because it does harm to good people, and wrong because it's the worst sort of government intrusion. Should be self-evident, but the popularity of laws to fight "overcrowding" - and I have to say, I had no idea that four people occupy less space when they're related - say it isn't.