53 Strange Facts about Crazy Laws

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published February 25, 2017
  • Before 1920, it was illegal for women in the United States to vote. When women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony tried to vote in the 1872 election, she was arrested and fined $100.[3]
  • It’s illegal to ride an ugly horse in Wilbur, Washington.[3]
  • In Mohave County, Arizona, if anyone is caught stealing soap, he must wash himself with it until the soap is gone.[3]
  • First cousins may marry in Utah, but only after they’re 65 years old.[1]
  • In Tennessee, it is illegal for children to play games on Sunday without a license.[2]
  • In North Dakota, no one can be arrested on the Fourth of July, a holiday that is commonly known there as “Five Finger Discount Day.”[1]
  • A girl may not ask a boy for a date over the phone in Dyersburg, Tennessee
  • In Dyersburg, Tennessee, it is against the law for a girl to telephone a boy to ask for a date.[2]
  • It is illegal in Tennessee for an atheist to hold office.[2]
  • In Indiana, it is illegal for a man to be sexually aroused in public.[1]
  • It is illegal in California to lick toads. Apparently, some people were licking toads to get high. Unfortunately, some people were being harmed by the toads’ poison.[4]
  • It is against Michigan state law to tie a crocodile to a fire hydrant.[1]
  • An old Colorado law states that a person must have a doctor’s prescription before taking a bath.[3]
  • Colorado law states that a man cannot marry his wife’s grandmother.[2]
  • A woman in a housecoat is forbidden to drive a car in California.[2]
  • According to Minneapolis law, a person who double parks a car will be put on a chain gang with only bread and water to eat.[2]
  • In Kansas, when two trains meet at a crossing, “both shall come to full stop and neither shall start up again until the other has gone.”[3]
  • Lawless are they that make their wills their law.

    - William Shakespeare

  • A representative from Oklahoma, Linda Larsen attempted to lower the divorce rate by proposing a law that would require the following before a marriage license would be issued: neither party should snore, at least one meal a week should be prepared by the non-primary cook, toothpaste should be squeezed from the bottom of the tube, pantyhose shouldn’t be left hanging in the shower, and the toilet seat should always be down when not being used.[2]
  • In Challis, Idaho, it is illegal to walk down the street with another man’s wife.[2]
  • In Morrisville, Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a woman to wear cosmetics without a permit.[2]
  • Flirting in Little Rock, Arkansas, can land someone in jail for 30 days.[3]
  • In Truro, Mississippi, a man must prove himself worthy before getting married by hunting and killing either six blackbirds or three crows.[2]
  • There are still laws in Pueblo, Colorado, stating that it is illegal to grow dandelions.[2]
  • A man is forbidden to kiss a woman while she’s asleep in Logan County, Colorado.[4]
  • A man is forbidden to kiss a woman while she’s asleep in Logan County, Colorado
  • A woman in Memphis, Tennessee, is not allowed to drive a car unless a man is in front of the car waving a red flag to warn people and other cars.[2]
  • It is illegal for children under the age of 12 to talk on the telephone unless accompanied by a parent in Blue Earth, Minnesota.[2]
  • In Kalispell, Montana, children must have a doctor’s note if they want to buy a lollipop.[2]
  • It is illegal in Waco, Texas, to throw a banana peel onto the street because a horse could slip.[4]
  • In Texas, the Encyclopedia Britannica was banned because it contained a formula for making beer.[2]
  • Pickles were outlawed in Los Angeles because the smell might offend people.[2]
  • It’s illegal in St. Louis, Missouri, for a fireman to rescue a woman wearing a nightgown. If she wants to be rescued, she must be fully clothed.[2]
  • Hartford, Connecticut, banned men from kissing their wives on Sundays.[3]
  • In Quitman, Georgia, chickens may not cross the road.[3]
  • It is illegal for chickens to cross the road in Quitman, Georgia
  • Buying ice cream on Sundays was illegal in Ohio because it was thought to be frivolous and “luxurious.” Consequently, ice cream vendors would put fruit on top of the ice cream to make it more nutritious, creating the ice cream sundae.[2]
  • A woman wearing shorts, a halter top, or a bathing suit to a political rally in Wheatfield, Indiana, could be charged with a misdemeanor.[4]
  • In Lander, Wyoming, it is illegal for adults to take a bath more than once a month once the cold weather arrives. Children cannot take a bath at all during the winter.[2]
  • According to Florida law, anyone who takes a bath must wear clothes.[2]
  • In Kentucky, a woman is forbidden to wear a bathing suit on a highway unless she is armed with a club or is escorted by at least two officers. The amendment says that the provisions of this statute “shall not apply to a female weighing less than 90 pounds or exceeding 200 pounds.”[2]
  • There is a law in South Carolina that allows a husband to beat his wife on the courthouse steps on a Sunday.[2]
  • Motorists in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, cannot park a car for more than two hours unless it is hitched to a horse.[2]
  • Women in Whitesville, Delaware, could be charged with disorderly conduct if they propose marriage to a man.[2]
  • In Michigan, a woman’s hair belongs to her husband.[2]
  • In Michigan, husbands legally own their wives’ hair
  • In Kentucky, it is against the law to remarry the same man four times.[1]
  • In Arizona, oral sex is considered sodomy.[2]
  • In Arizona, a man may legally beat his wife once a month, but no more.[2]
  • According to an Atlanta, Georgia, ordinance, “smelly people” are not allowed to ride public streetcars.[1]
  • In Lexington, Kentucky, it is against the law to carry an ice cream cone in a pocket.[3]
  • In California, ostrich steaks are exempt from state sales tax.[2]
  • Massachusetts passed a law in 1648 that allowed a parent to put to death a stubborn or rebellious son. The law has been repealed by the legislature.[2]
  • Men with mustaches are forbidden to kiss women in Eureka, Nevada
  • In Eureka, Nevada, it is illegal for men who have mustaches to kiss women.[2]
  • In Massachusetts, a person could be fined up to $200 for denying the existence of God.[4]
  • In 1659, Massachusetts outlawed Christmas. According to state law, anybody observing Christmas would be fined five shillings.[2]
  • Policemen are allowed to bite a dog if they think it will calm the dog down in Paulding, Ohio.[3]
  • In Zeigler, Illinois, only the first four firemen to arrive at a fire will be paid.[3]
References

1Koon, Jeff and Andy Powell. You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant: 101 Real Dumb Laws. New York, NY: The Free Press, 2002.

2Lindsell-Roberts, Sheryl. Whacky Laws, Weird Decisions, and Strange Statutes. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, 2004.

3Linz, Kathi. Chickens May Not Cross The Road and Other Crazy (But True) Laws. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.

4Smith, Rich. You Can Get Arrested for That: 2 Guys, 25 Dumb Laws, 1 Absurd American Crime Spree. New York, NY: Random House, Inc, 2006.

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