13 Surprising Marriage Laws You Might Be Breaking Right Now

Who knew: there are towns where marriage laws hold that you can't sleep naked next to your spouse, where mistreating your mother-in-law means grounds for divorce, and where a wife must ask permission from her husband before wearing false teeth. Congratulations!

By Caitlin O'Connell
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    Married on a dare? Here, you can take it back.

    In Delaware, it's legal to obtain an annulment if you got married on a dare or as a prank. The official law states that a marriage may be annulled if "one or both parties entered the marriage as a jest or dare."

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    If you like it, then you should've put a ring on it.

    Don Juans, beware: under South Carolina's Offenses Against Morality and Decency Act, it's considered a misdemeanor for a man over the age of 16 to propose to a woman in order to seduce her.

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    Put those pajamas back on. Please.

    It may have moved past the whole witch thing, but the town of Salem, Massachusetts has retained its prudishness; it's illegal for a married couple to sleep nude in a rented room.

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    You got a permission slip for those dentures, lady?

    In Vermont, a wife must obtain written permission from her husband before wearing false teeth. Condolences.

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    Here, you'd better be nice to your mother-in-law.

    In Wichita, Kansas, the mistreatment of mothers-in-law can be used as grounds for divorce.

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    Ready, aim, fire!

    In the town of Truro on Cape Cod, the groom-to-be must prove his manliness before marriage by hunting and killing either six blackbirds or three crows.

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    Drunk? (Or just stupid?) Sober up before you say "I do."

    If the Mississippi county clerk issuing your marriage license believes that you or your betrothed is drunk, insane, or an "imbecile," he or she can deny you the license. And if that's the case, avoid getting hitched in Tennessee too.

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    Fourth time? Not a charm.

    After three failed marriages, it's probably time to tell each other goodbye. Kentucky is helping its women make smarter decisions, by making it illegal to marry the same man four times.

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    Here, kissing cousins can legally marry.

    First cousins are allowed to marry in Utah only if they are over 65-years-old. (Read: infertile.) 

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    Sorry, Miss Cleo can't pronounce you man and wife in this town.

    Before you give your favorite psychic a ring, know that it's illegal for a palm reader or a psychic to officiate and marry people in New Orleans.

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    Here, you could've gotten married before you could play scratch-off lottery.

    For a brief period in 2007 to 2008, it was legal in Arkansas for children under the age of 18 to get married, with parental consent. We anticipate a reality series once MTV discovers this actually happened.

    J. J. Lambe/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

    I love you, wherever you are.

    To facilitate weddings for servicemen and women who may be abroad, California, Colorado, Texas, and Montana allow "marriage by proxy," which means either the groom or the bride can have someone attend the ceremony in his or her place. Montana even allows double proxy weddings, where neither party needs to be present.

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    No PDA on the Lord's Day.

    Save the romantic walk in the park for Saturday: it's illegal to smooch your wife in public on Sundays in Hartford, Connecticut.

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    Your Comments

    • Doug

      there are a couple of laws that I heard about. the first is/was in Idaho. if you checked into a motel under mr & mrs. you were automatically married. the other–memory doesn’t serve well what state it is, (Kansas maybe) but if you have a girl in the car that you are not married to that takes off one shoe you can be charged with statutory rape.

    • Russell Christopher Ade

      There is a law that a man can beat his wife with a stick as long as it is not over 3 inches wide and not more than once a month on the courthouse lawn in Little Rock, Arkansas. Crazy laws.

      • Mitali Cyrus

        WTF

    • MISS Mentor

      Why aren’t the slides woking on Safari?

    • Cindy

      I got married in Arkansas at age of 16 in 1981.

      • Doug

        many states, the age of consent is 16, in Oregon the parents can do nothing unless the girl herself screams rape. the law still on the books in n.m. the age of consent is 12 as well as marriage–all due to the old Spanish law.