America’s Most (Humorous) Out-dated Laws

by Australian Lawyer on September 23, 2011

To us in Australia, the good old U. S. of A. is a wonderful nation that provides a lot – from movies, celebrities, and reality TV, to clothing, food and influencing the way we speak. Today, the US legal system is going to provide us with a chuckle in a light-hearted look at some of the most humorously out-dated laws in America.July Cupcake

No Moustache Please

A throw back from the early days, it is still against the law for a man with a moustache to kiss a woman in the town of Eureka, Nevada. Good thing Rhett and Scarlett didn’t visit there.

Have a Mint!

Beware of bad breath when visiting Alexandria, Minnesota. If a man has garlic, onions or sardines on his breath, it is illegal for him to have sex with his wife. Good news for the wife, perhaps?

Don’t Brush on the Sabbath

Shop owners in Providence, Rhode Island cannot sell toothpaste and toothbrushes to the same person on Sundays. What the …?

I Need You to Dress Please Ma’am

This is crazy and I really hope it is a law that gets ignored but in St Louis, Missouri fire fighters cannot legally rescue a woman who is wearing a nightgown. Not sure how many women are stopping to get dressed in the event of a fire but I don’t think it’s very many.

Don’t Tease the Dog

When visiting Oklahoma make sure you’re nice to the dog – it’s illegal to make faces at the family pet and if caught there’s a chance you’ll end up in jail.


Forewarned is forearmed as they said but if this really happened the police would have nothing to investigate. There is a law in Texas that required criminals to give their victims 24 hours’ notice – either oral or written – of the crime they are going to commit, including details. Somehow I don’t think Texan criminals bother. It’s like the movie ‘Minority Report’ but based on the honor system.

We’re Rich

In Washington, it’s illegal to pretend that your parents are rich.

Goes Against Nature

Better keep an eye on your dog when there’s a cat around in International Falls, Minnesota. It is illegal there for a dog to chase a cat up a phone pole. If it happens and it’s your dog, you’ll be fined.

Only in a Nightshirt Please

Nebraskan law states that clean, white cotton nightshirts must be provided to each guest staying in a hotel in Hastings. Not only that but no couple is allowed to sex in a Hastings hotel unless wearing these nightshirts.

No Swearing at the Corpse

In North Carolina it is illegal to swear in front of cadavers. The law states that profanity, indecent or obscene language is forbidden in the vicinity of a dead body.

Be Sure to Separate the Laundry

When hanging your washing in Minnesota, be sure to separate your underwear – it is illegal for male and female underwear to hang side-by-side on the same clothesline.

No Leaning Zone

They must like things tidy and respectable in Clinton County, Ohio. You’ll be fined if caught leaning against the wall of a public building there.

Watch the Moose

They really love their moose in Alaska. So much so there are several laws that apply only to moose. A moose must not be seen from a plane; you cannot give a moose alcohol; and you must not push a live moose from a moving plane.

No Encyclopaedia Here
Texans take their alcohol very seriously it seems. The entire catalogue of Encyclopaedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains the formula for brewing your own beer at home.

No Funny Greetings

Whoever created this law clearly watched too many Marx Brothers films. It is illegal in New York to greet someone by placing your thumb on your nose and wiggling your fingers.

Burgle at Night
Good news for burglars in Kentucky. The law there states that if you are going to commit burglary, it can only occur at night. Certainly makes it easier to hide.

I have to do What?

Pennsylvanian farmers have created some very interesting rules regarding cars that are guaranteed to leave you shaking your head. The anti-automobile society’s rules include: cars travelling on country roads at night must send up a flare every mile and wait 10 minutes to be sure the road is clear; drivers must pull over to the side of the road and cover their cars with a cover that blends in with the scenery if they see a team of horses; if a horse refuses to pass a car, the car owner must take the car apart and hide the parts in nearby trees.

And with that, we reach the end of today’s article about America’s most out-dated laws. Hope you enjoyed and if you’d like to contribute to this list, you are welcome to do so in the comments.

This article has been guest authored by Michael Peter Law. Michael is a 20-something freelance journalist based in New South Wales, Australia. He’s an occasional blogger who enjoys writing about the lighter side of life, having worked in the past with some of Australia’s leading solicitors and compensation lawyers. He can be contacted at (at)

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