Top 15 weird laws in the US that you would not believe exist

Top 15 weird laws in the US that you would not believe exist

If you thought your country had crazy laws, you'd be surprised by some of the laws in the United States. These rules will make you question their legitimacy because they sound like they came straight out of a comic book. You may be wondering what these codes are, but what is certain is that they are valid and in effect. Discover 15 weird laws in the US that you would never believe exist.

weird laws in the US
Judge's gavel on the US flag. Photo: ATU Images
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Laws are a set of rules established and enforced by social or governmental institutions to govern behaviour. It can also be described as a science and an art form. However, its precise definition has long been a contention, with some questioning its purpose.

Weird laws in the US

Many bizarre laws have been enacted over the years, and they were all enacted for a reason. Someone did something so insane that people felt compelled to make it illegal at some point.

However, no matter how hard you try to be a law-abiding citizen, you may inadvertently violate these codes. Here are the most ridiculous laws in the United States and the dumbest laws in the world.

1. In Mississippi, you cannot have more than two kids out of wedlock

weird laws in the US
A Pregnancy test kit is reading not pregnant. Photo: Peter Dazeley
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According to Justia, Mississippi passed a law in 2013 stating that you can only have one illegitimate child. If you have a second child out of wedlock, you will be charged with a misdemeanour punishable by fines or jail time. This wedlock rule places it among the weird state laws in the US.

2. In North Carolina, you cannot come to a meeting in a costume

weird laws in the US
Man in a gorilla mask on the train. Photo: Allison Michael Orenstein
Source: Getty Images

Is it illegal to wear a mask in North Carolina? It is, indeed. According to WCNC, North Carolina's anti-mask law, which prohibits people from wearing facial coverings in public, was enacted in 1953. The code was enacted to discourage Ku Klux Klan activity in the area.

3. In Yamhill, Oregon, you cannot be a fortune teller

weird laws in the US
Close-up of a fortune teller reading tarot cards. Photo: Cristian Blázquez Martínez
Source: Getty Images

According to American Legal Publishing, the city of Yamhill Oerogon forbids any occult arts to practise. The law prohibits the practice of fortune telling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance, mesmerism, or spiritualism.

Furthermore, any spiritualistic readings or exhibitions of such characters for hire or profit are prohibited. However, the rule allows people to conduct or carry out the arts mentioned above if they are duly licenced to do so under any of the city's ordinances.

4. In Arizona, it's illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub

weird laws in the US
A miniature Mediterranean donkey loves to roll in the dirt. Photo: driftlessstudio
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As bizarre as this rule appears, you will be surprised to learn it is true. According to Horse and Man, a local dam broke in the 1920s, flooding a rancher's home where a donkey had become accustomed to sleeping in a bathtub.

When the flood reached the rancher's property, floods swept the donkey and tub into a basin. After working to rescue the animal with town resources and workforce, the town passed a regulation prohibiting donkeys from sleeping in bathtubs.

5. In Rockville, Maryland, you cannot swear in public

weird laws in the US
Emoticon swearing face. Photo: Ar Ducha Misfa'i
Source: Getty Images

Is it illegal to swear in Rockville, Maryland? Yes, it is. If you want to curse or swear publicly in Rockville, you do so at your own risk. According to The Moco Show, it is illegal to curse and swear or use obscene language on or near a street, sidewalk, or highway where people passing by can hear you.

If you are overheard cursing on the street, you will be charged with a misdemeanour and fined $100.

6. In Gainesville, Georgia, you cannot eat fried chicken with a fork and knife

weird laws in the US
Southern fried chicken with potato salad. Photo: Marianna Massey
Source: Getty Images

Yes, you can be arrested in Gainesville, Georgia, for eating fried chicken with anything other than your hands. Gainesville passed legislation making eating fried chicken with a fork illegal in 1961 to promote the city as the world's poultry capital.

7. In Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, whispering in the church is considered a disturbance of worship

weird laws in the US
Pews and stained glass windows in a church. Photo: Monashee Frantz
Source: Getty Images

According to E Code 360, talking or making noise in a church in the City of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, will result in a fine. The law states that no one shall use noise to disrupt or disturb any congregation or assembly assembled for religious worship.

The disturbance includes talking or whispering, rude or indecent behaviour, and profane language within or within 300 feet of the church.

8. In Arkansas, you can't honk your horn near a sandwich shop after 9 p.m

weird laws in the US
A man honking. Photo: PixelsEffect
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What are weird traffic laws in the US? Arkansas' honking regulation is a good example. According to The Lariat, honking horns near places where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9 p.m. is illegal. The law was enacted in the 1920s when curb service became popular nationwide.

9. In South Carolina (and other states), you cannot use stink bombs

weird laws in the US
Smelling green cartoon fart clouds. Photo: Mironov Konstantin
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If you grew up in the 1990s, playing with stink bombs as a prank was a popular pastime. However, since 2012, South Carolina state law has made the use of stink bombs in public prohibited.

The South Carolina Legislature makes it illegal for anyone other than a peace officer in the line of duty to place or throw a stink bomb or similar device containing foul or offensive odours.

10. In Colorado, you cannot keep a couch on your porch

weird laws in the US
Yellow pouffe next to rattan armchair on a wooden terrace with striped pillows on a sofa. Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz
Source: Getty Images

Why can't you have a couch on your porch in Colorado? According to the New York Times, Boulder officials approved an ordinance in 2002 that prohibits keeping upholstered furniture outside. The law was enacted to prevent university students from lighting bonfires with this furniture during riots.

11. In Connecticut, you cannot sell a pickle that doesn't bounce

weird laws in the US
Fresh cucumbers in water. Photo: Nataliia Shcherbyna
Source: Getty Images

What are some crazy laws that still exist? Connecticut's pickle law is one of the strange codes that still exist. According to The Free Library, two farmers were caught selling pickles unfit for human consumption in the 1940s.

Because there was no standard for inspection, officials decided that bouncy pickles were fresher than those flopped onto the ground. Soon after, in 1948, Connecticut's bouncing-pickle law went into effect.

12. In Illinois, underage culinary students are allowed to drink

weird laws in the US
Man holding and judging a glass of red wine. Photo: Westend61
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Based on the idea that students should learn how to taste wine during their early years of culinary school, Illinois state passed a law called "Sip and Spit". The regulation, enacted in 2012, permits culinary students over 18 years but under 21 to legally taste alcoholic beverages only by sipping and spitting.

13. In Michigan, you can't sell a car on a Sunday

weird laws in the US
A man holding a car key in a car dealership. Photo: Alexander Gavrilov
Source: Getty Images

Did you know it is illegal in Michigan to sell, trade, or buy a motor vehicle on Sunday? According to Idiot Laws, the 1953 enactment states that it is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to engage in the business of buying or selling motor vehicles on Sunday.

The rule was enacted because Michigan had a sizable Christian population that believed Sunday was a day of rest.

14. In Missouri, you can't wrestle a bear

weird laws in the US
A growling grizzly bear. Photo: Mark Newman
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Though it is one of the strange laws in America, its enactment has been beneficial. The state passed legislation prohibiting bear fighting in 2000. The wrestling matches resulted in the inhumane treatment of the bears, who had their claws and teeth removed so they wouldn't maul their opponents.

According to Justia, this regulation is still in effect today, and those found guilty face harsh penalties.

15. In Kentucky, a woman cannot marry the same man four times

weird laws in the US
The back of a car with a just married sign. Photo: Elyse Lewin
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Even though it's not all that common for divorced people to get back together and get married again, Kentucky lawmakers decided that true love should have some restrictions. According to Clark Law Group, Kentucky law prohibits a woman from remarrying the same man four times.

What are the top 10 weirdest laws?

What law is most weird? If you thought that you had witnessed enough dumb laws in America, then you are in for a shock. Below are some other weird laws that exist in the US.

  1. In Alabama, wearing a fake moustache that causes laughter in a church is illegal.
  2. In Arkansas, it is illegal to mispronounce the name of the state.
  3. In Florida, it is illegal to sing in a public place while dressed in a swimsuit.
  4. In Georgia, it is illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body in a funeral home or a coroner's office.
  5. In Illinois, giving a lighted cigar to a domesticated animal is illegal.
  6. In Kentucky, carrying ice cream in your back pocket is illegal.
  7. In Louisiana, robbing a bank and then shooting at the bank teller with a water pistol is illegal.
  8. In Massachusetts, it is illegal to go to bed without putting away the frying pan.
  9. In Minnesota, crossing state lines with a duck on your head is illegal.
  10. In North Carolina, it is illegal to play bingo while the person calling the game is wearing a tuxedo.

What is the strangest law in history?

It is difficult to identify the single strangest law in history because it varies significantly across cultures and periods. Here are a few examples of bizarre laws that have existed in various locations throughout history.

  • In ancient Rome, it was illegal to urinate in the Tiber River.
  • In the Middle Ages, being a witch in many parts of Europe was illegal.
  • In the 16th century England, it was illegal to be a homeless person.
  • In 17th-century Massachusetts, kissing your wife on a Sunday was illegal.
  • In the 19th century Prussia, it was illegal to enter a pub unless you had a job.
  • In 20th-century China, it was illegal to have more than one child.

Which US state won't allow fake moustaches in church?

Alabama state won't allow you to wear a fake moustache in church. According to AL, it is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church.

Weird laws in the US include some of the most bizarre rules ever enacted by legislatures. These laws may appear strange, but they were most likely enacted to address specific issues in their respective states at the time. It is worth noting that many of these laws are no longer in effect or have been repealed or modified.

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