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13 Surprising Marriage Laws You Might Be Breaking Right Now

Updated: Nov. 28, 2022

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!

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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.” Here are some other crazy-but-true reasons people have filed for divorce.

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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 trials thing, but the town of Salem, Massachusetts has retained its prudishness with weird marriage laws; 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. Check out these other strange things you didn’t know were illegal.

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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.”

Two states have these weird marriage laws on the books. 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. Next time, maybe they should try these surprising marriage tips from happy couples!

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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. Learn about these other 50 strange things you won’t believe are banned in the Untied States.

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You could get married before you can play scratch-off lottery.

In some states, you can get married as young as 16—and sometimes even younger with the permission of the parents and consent of a judge. We anticipate a reality series once MTV discovers this loophole.

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I love you, wherever you are.

To facilitate weddings for servicemen and women who may be abroad, weird marriage laws in 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. Next, check out the 50 dumbest laws from every state.