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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    E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

    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.

    George W. Hales/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    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.

    Fox Photos/Getty Images

    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

    • Lygeia

      Cite the statute or I don’t believe it.

    • Gabe

      Psshh…I PDA my wife IN church on Sunday.

    • dannicalliope

      It’s legal in Louisiana to marry under age 18 as long as your parents sign for you. My mother got married at 17.

    • Kristena

      I got married in VA at 16. It’s definitely legal.

    • SmartyPants

      You can marry your first cousin in Hawaii along with 24 other states.

      • ME

        But who would want to!?!

        • Doug

          it depends on what she looks like!! one of my first cousins was a supreme knock out and very cute. woulda but guess came to my senses!! looks like a baby whale out of water now!!

    • Crazy_Jake

      Blackbirds or Crows? Tells ya I dont a thing about birds… I thought they were the same thing.

      • G Anderson

        better shoot 6 just to be safe!

      • Doug

        negative on being the same. believe me one is too tough to eat and the other makes a great jambalaya!!! we used to black bird hunt and if we had too many would just pluck out the breast and cook it up. tasty!!

    • daciang

      Like so many of these “looney laws” pieces, this one is full on nonsense. Number 3 is unenforceable and probably unconstitutional. In Vermont (#4), there is no such law. Number 5 would be superseded by KS state law, if the “law” exists at all. Number 6 is just nonsense. Number 8 is probably unconstitutional, but I cannot find it in the KY statutes anyway – I doubt that it exists. In number 10, once again State law would preempt any such ordinance, if there are any on it, in NOLA. And number 13, no kissing in Hartford CT on Sunday, is nonsense. Note that the citations for these lists are never provided. What happened to peoples’ baloney detectors?

      • Doug

        many are still on the books in these states but have fallen by the wayside with progress and new laws. used to be like sodomy laws, ever heard of them??? they went by the wayside along with many others as states progress. that is where they get these, they actually were enforceable at one time. just like the driving laws—when coming to a cross road a body would have to get out of the car, look both ways and either get back in the car blowing the horn, or if the passenger got out he would wave the driver on thru–again, blowing the horn and would get back in on the other side!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/boo.spanyer Boo Spanyer Cassiopeia

      the 5 of 14 pic…Oswald and Lady Moseley!

    • Giovanni


    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Weber/100001098596465 Carrie Weber

      #11… I know other places where you can get married before 18 with parental consent…???

      • No kidding

        Umm yea most places. My parent’s got married at 17 and so did one of my cousins and they were both in Ohio. I think you have to be at least 16 there though, even with parental consent.

      • No kidding

        maybe they meant to say without parental consent.. As far as I can tell online, all states allow that and some allow it without parental consent if you are already pregnant or have a child.

      • rw

        Mississippi allowed marriage at the age of 13

        • Doug

          n.m. allowed it at 12 until sometime after the territory was made into a state. went by Spanish law.