By Womans Day Last year, the New York state legislature approved no-fault divorce, the last state to do so, siding with opponents who viewed the... Read More
Last year, the New York state legislature approved no-fault divorce, the last state to do so, siding with opponents who viewed the law as antiquated and passé. This landmark decision got us thinking about what other outdated marriage laws might exist in the U.S. Read on to find out which states have (or had) the wackiest rules around.
Marriage by proxy, which means someone stands in for a bride/groom who can’t be present at his/her wedding, is limited to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. But of the four states that allow the practice — California, Colorado, Texas and Montana — Montana is the only one that allows double-proxy weddings. Essentially, neither the bride nor groom has to show up. Call us old-fashioned, but it doesn’t seem like the ideal start to the biggest commitment of one’s life.
For a few months between 2007 and 2008, anyone under 18 could get married in Arkansas with parental consent. (Yes, even babies — as their parents agreed!) The original law was meant to allow pregnant teenagers to get married if their parents approved, but lawmakers forgot to put in an age minimum. The law was corrected in April 2008, making the minimum age 17 for boys and 16 for girls.
Ever been dared to get married … as a prank? Neither have we. But apparently this happens often enough in Delaware that it’s actually an option when couples file for an annulment. Along with the basic reasons such as marrying “without the capacity to consent” or “under duress,” couples can now check “because of a jest or dare” when applying to dissolve their nuptials.
In Kentucky, it’s illegal to remarry the same man four times. Honestly, good for Kentucky: If you’ve already divorced him three times, someone should step in. Of course, as long as it’s different men, you can get married as many times as you like.
The infamous witch trials are long over, but religious conservatism is still alive in Salem. Apparently, married couples are not allowed to sleep in the nude in a rented room. In Truro, MA a groom-to-be must “prove himself manly” by hunting and killing either six blackbirds or three crows.
In South Carolina it’s illegal for a man over 16 years old to propose marriage and not mean it. Doing so means he’s committing a misdemeanor under the Offenses Against Morality and Decency Act. Not sure if that means he will be forced to marry the woman in question, or if he can’t ask for a woman’s hand as a way to seduce her. We hope it’s the latter.
Many husbands would probably say their mother-in-law isn’t their favorite person in the world. But for those who really, really dislike their wife’s mother, moving to Wichita, KS, might be a good option. In this city, a man’s mistreatment of his mother-in-law may not be used as grounds for divorce.
Imagine it: You get a babysitter so you and your hubby can go out for a romantic dinner. Afterward you take a stroll around town. Caught in the moment, you lean in for a passionate kiss. Busted! The police can cuff you and throw you in jail — that is, if you live in Hartford, Connecticut … and it’s Sunday. Well, maybe not these days, but technically, it’s still illegal in this city for a man to kiss his wife on the Lord’s Day.
It’s most likely that your wedding was officiated by a religious figure or judge. Or, if you’re a bit more eccentric than some, you had a friend become ordained so he or she could marry you. New Orleans has made it illegal for palm readers, fortune tellers, mystics and the like to officiate a wedding. Guess they don’t want you peeking at your future — you’ll just have to go into it with blind faith like everyone else!