The United States prides itself on being a nation of laws, and it is almost universally accepted that laws are essential to provide structure, order, security, and safety for society.
Most legislation on the books is based on precedent, logic, and common sense. However, some measures are head-scratchers and beg the question as to how they became laws in the first place and why they haven’t been repealed.
24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of some of the more preposterous, illogical laws around the country, reviewing multiple legal and general interest sources that have cited loopy legislation that remains in force to the best of our knowledge.
The origins of many of these laws are a mystery. A number of them involve animals. Though they may sound silly when read – do we really need a law to stop us from tossing a live moose out of a plane? – many were obviously passed with the best of intentions to protect our non-human friends. For instance, public-spirited citizens in Arizona saved a donkey from drowning after it fell asleep in an abandoned bathtub, and then passed a law in the hopes of keeping that from ever happening again. (These are the official pets and animals of every state.)
Some of the legislation has been used to control women. In Michigan, wives aren’t allowed to cut their hair without their husband’s permission. In California, they’re banned from driving while wearing a housecoat.
Other laws govern the consumption of alcohol, which might have roots in America’s temperance legacy. Profanity, meanwhile, is forbidden at funeral homes in Georgia – and if you’re at a wake in Massachusetts, you’d better watch your sandwich intake. (You’d better be especially careful in the cities where law enforcement makes the most arrests.)
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