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Real (Strange) Laws

All great things must come to an end. This also holds true for massively overblown and poorly researched lists of real (strange) laws.

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A minister in Pennsylvania is not supposed to perform a marriage ceremony if either the bride or the groom is drunk.
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In Idaho, it's illegal to hunt from the back of an animal.

A minister in Pennsylvania is not supposed to perform a marriage ceremony if either the bride or the groom is drunk.

In Iowa, it is illegal to hunt from an aircraft.

It's against the law in Fairbanks, Alaska to give a moose a beer.

The game of crackaloo is illegal in Fairfield, Ala.

In Mooresville, N.C., it's illegal to attach anything to a pool table.

It's illegal to clean salmon along Maine's upper Kennebec River. Enforcement of this law has been made easier for many years by the fact that, because of a dam, there are no salmon on the upper Kennebec River.

An old Washington law sent duelists to jail for 10 years, assuming they didn't lose the duel.

The New York State Senate passed a resolution to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers' 1955 world championship and expressed a longing that someday the Dodgers will return to "their one and only true home."

A proposed Washington law protects sports referees from civil suit unless their actions were "willful, wanton, reckless, malicious or grossly negligent."

Punching an official at a youth sports program in Nashville, N.C., incurs a three-year suspension from the program for adult spectators as well as participants.

In Kentucky, according to an old law, it's illegal to use any kind of reptile in a religious service. It's not certain if the law would withstand First Amendment scrutiny today.

If you went to church in Texas years back, you'd better be recognized. An old law made it illegal to go to church in disguise.

It used to be a $200 fine in Vermont to deny the "existence or being of God."

It's illegal in Nevada to have a "house of ill fame" within 400 yards of a church or school.

A recent proposal that ministers walk the beat with police officers in Belmont, N.C., notes "the ministers will carry a Bible instead of a gun."

It's against a Key West, Fla., ordinance to spit on a church floor.

Idaho and other states allow members of the Native American church to use the hallucinogenic plant peyote in religious services.

It's unlawful to attract a crowd in Forest City, N.C., except when aching the Gospel, politicking or "serenading on occasion of public rejoicing."

In Spokane, Wash., it used to be illegal to interrupt a religious meeting by having a horse race.

If the honey you are eating in Seattle is a blend of honey from or more types of flowers, it's illegal for the honey to be labeled as having come from one type of flower.

It's not clear what this has done to the bar business, but a law in Chicago, Ill., makes it illegal to serve liquor to the feeble-minded.

It's against the law in Vermont for vagrants to procure food by force. Apparently if you have a good job and stable home life, it's O.K. to procure food by force.

That the folks in Louisiana take their food seriously is beyond question. It is against state law to steal even a single crawfish.

If you've ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you'll see the kings and queens on the various floats throwing plastic money, medallions and jewels to the crowd, but not food. It's against the law to throw food from a float in the Mardi Gras festivities.

It's legal to walk down the street with a drink in New Orleans, even to drive with a drink. But if you fall over and block the sidewalk, you've just broken the law.

It used to be legal in Minnesota to sell rolled candy on Sunday, and illegal to sell flat candy. The wafer people have gotten this one repealed.

As in most dairy states, Vermont does what it can to discourage the use of margarine. For example, it's illegal to use colored margarine in restaurants unless the menu indicates you do--in letters two inches high. Colored margarine can only be served in triangle shaped patties.

Georgia has 75 laws on how to build rice paddies, even though the state has only one rice farm left. Rice was the state's No. 1 crop before the Civil War. But right after the war, a hurricane destroyed all the paddies and ponds. It was too expensive to replace them without slaves, so the Rice State began growing peaches, peanuts and other crops.

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It's illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket in Lexington, Kentucky.
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It used to be against the law to go to the theater in Gary, Ind., after eating garlic.

An old law in Waterloo, Neb., discouraged barbers from eating onions on the job.

You may deserve a break today, but you won't get it in Bloomfield, Conn., if you can't wait to get home from your local fast food emporium: It's against the law to eat in your car.

It's illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket in Lexington, Kentucky.

Tomatoes are actually a fruit, but legally speaking, they're a vegetable. Ruling in an 1893 tariff case, the U.S. Supreme Court said that because tomatoes are normally eaten during a meal and not afterward, they are legally vegetables.

One of the early Occupational Safety and Health Act laws in effect prohibited the use of ice in drinking water. It's been repealed.

The Iowa Legislature once passed a resolution ordering the state cafeteria to start serving cornbread.

In Wisconsin you need a cheesemaker's license to make any kind of cheese, except Limburger. To make Limburger, you need a master cheesemaker's license.

Many states have had whacky liquor regulations. In Nevada until the 1960s it was illegal to sell liquor at religious camp meetings, within a half-mile of the state prison, in the State Capitol Building or to imbeciles.

Also, saloonkeepers had to post the names of habitual drunkards if so requested by the local sheriff or members of the imbibers' immediate families.

California only fairly recently legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages in nudist colonies.

Minnesota has repealed its so-called "Twinkie" law, under which a Minneapolis City Council candidate was indicted for dispensing $34 worth of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, cookies, Kool-Aid and coffee to some senior citizens.

Montana just legalized the production of caviar.

In New York City you need a permit to transport carbonated beverages.

New York and a handful of other states require that toilets be evenly divided among men and women in public theaters or arenas.

The Santa Monica, Calif., City Council recently proposed that men be allowed to use women's public restrooms when there's a line of three or more at the mens' room, and vice versa.

It's illegal in Florida for an unmarried man and woman to live together in "open and gross lewdness." Connecticut once had a similar law, but only the woman was penalized.

You need a license to sell condoms in Washington state.

In the old days in Nevada a man caught beating his wife was tied to a stake for eight hours a day with a sign that read, "Wife Beater" fastened to his chest.

In South Carolina, wife beaters weren't allowed to hold public office.

An ordinance in Linden, Ala., provided that all women of "uncertain chastity" had to be off the streets by 9 p.m.

Vietnam veterans may remember that a Vietnamese lawmaker proposed the country should ban the practice of women wearing "falsies."

A Wisconsin legislator in the 1970s proposed a law providing that no woman over 21 be required to divulge her age. If age information were required by law, women could use an alphabetic code: women in their '20s would use A, women in their '30s B, and so on.

A Maryland law outlaws "female sitters, also known as shills," women paid by owners to sit in their bars and encourage male patrons to buy drinks.

In Missouri, male legislators once introduced a resolution urging their female colleagues to strap snub-nosed, 38-caliber revolvers to their ankles.

In Hawaii a husband or wife who deserted a spouse and failed to reconcile could be given a month of hard labor. Second offense was a year of hard labor.

Strange Sex Laws

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