Weird wedding laws (and lawlessness)

Published date: 5th January 2019

Cards on the table, this was researched from the net, so please don’t take every word as fact. It’s really (mainly) just an excuse to poke fun at foreigners. Some of these are probably nonsense, laws superseded by new ones (politicians love the glory of bringing in new acts, but not the hard work of getting rid of old ones). Anyway…

The USA is a major source of such odd legislation. Before the big day, there has to be a proposal. It’s not unknown for troths to be plighted temporarily for purposes of seduction, something the good folks of South Carolina combat with a law banning anyone over 16 from ‘mock proposals,’ though apparently if she (why does it have to be a man proposing?) was behaving lewdly he has no case to answer. Anyone slipping over the border into North Carolina to get their wicked way faces a law making it illegal to pretend to be married when booking a room.

Alabama probably has more daft marriage legislation than most states, though happily the law against interracial marriage there was killed off in 2000. They still can’t throw confetti in Mobile, however, without committing an illegal act. If a couple divorces in the state, she gets to keep all her pre-marriage stuff, his is shared. Time for vinyl collectors for justice?

Few places beat Alabama in this list, but Arkansas (naturally) does: apparently it’s still legal for a hubby to beat his wife there, but only once a month. Phew.

In the same place they mistakenly (honest) passed a law that meant for a brief period in 2007-08 there was no age limit on marriage. The fun-loving Saudis made no such mistake, their laws expressly allow children to be married, or so we’ve read. But not, it seems, if they are male and want to marry women or girls from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chad and Myanmar – on the prohibited list apparently.

But back to the USA: the marriage bed (and the courting couch?) yields some strange legal niceties there, like in Oregon where supposedly it’s indictable to talk dirty during sex; back in good ole North Carolina only the missionary position is legal, and only with the curtains drawn; in Vermont the gals have to ask their husbands for written permission to wear false teeth (why is that in this section?); oh yes, and our good friends in North Carolina (and Louisiana) oral sex is illegal, but not, we’re assured, necrophilia. But at least Louisiana has the sense to make it against the law for palm readers and similar charlatans to provide guidance on marriages. Some you win, some you lose – but not too often in Kentucky, where the same couple can only marry one another three times. How often is that a problem?

But it’s not just the USA where such weirdness abounds. We’ve learned that in Japan an older brother can ask the younger’s girlfriend to marry him, and legally she can’t refuse (we really don’t believe that one btw), in Kyrgyzstan as recently as 1991 it was legal to kidnap your intended, whether she liked it or not, or even knew you; that is as vile as Moroccan law allowing rapists to avoid justice by marrying underage victims. But we think for exceptional strangeness the topper in this post is this last one, and not so far from home either in France, where marriage to a dead person (under very specific and it has to be said tragic circumstances) can be legal.

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