Every jurisdiction in the world has laws which seem outdated and sometimes even ridiculous. Some were enacted years ago and no one has ever bothered to remove them. Others have been left in place in case they might become relevant again in the future. Still others, I suspect, have been left on the books just to provide a chuckle to anyone who wants to peruse every single piece of legislation ever enacted in that area.
Here are some of the strangest laws still in effect in the United States:
* In Minnesota, it is illegal to tease skunks.
It is not only illegal, it is also stupid.
* In Oklahoma, people who make “ugly faces” at dogs may be fined and/or jailed.
If you’re naturally unattractive, must you wear a mask in front of your dog?
* In North Carolina, it is illegal to have sex in a Churchyard.
I suspect the punishment would be more severe if there is a funeral in progress at the time.
* In Montana, it is a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail.
However, if it just happens to open as she holds it over a steaming kettle…
* In Omaha, Nebraska, if a child burps during a church service, his or her parents may be arrested.
They probably wonder why only elderly people attend church in Omaha.
* In Tennessee, it is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish.
You can use a hook, a net, a spear, a bucket, a knitting needle, a pickle jar, a strainer, but not a lasso.
* In Columbus, Georgia, it is illegal to sit on one’s porch in an indecent position.
Back straight, feet flat on the ground, knees together, shoulders back, head up; got it?
* In Texas, it is illegal to milk another person’s cow.
And don’t give me that old story about the animal being a stray who just happened to follow you home.
* In Lebanon, Virginia, it is illegal to kick your wife out of bed.
You can push, pull, shove, roll, heave, nudge or butt her out, but don’t you dare kick!
* In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
Would he prefer to watch her gumming her way through life?
Perhaps there should be an official “Records Officer” appointed for each state to delete all out-of-date laws, or to bring them into conformity with modern practices and customs. Then again, that would be yet another civil servant to drain the already anaemic public tax coffers.
As Mark Twain observed, “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing”. Let’s just leave them the way they are.