One of the definitions given on Merriam Websters website’s for law is “(1) : the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law (2) : the action of laws considered as a means of redressing wrongs”
However there continue to exist a plethora laws which on closer examination are clearly weird, strange or downright wrong. Such laws don’t act as above mentioned “means of redressing wrongs”. On the other hand they appear to propagate such wrongs due to either their outdated nature or the fact that many of them stand in support of stereotypes and discrimination against a certain class of people. And then there are the laws which serve no useful purpose in modern times but to continue to exist either because the lawmakers haven’t noticed caused by them to the public or simply don’t care.
Some of these laws are popular myths, others complete true but let’s set the record straight shall we.
- In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store– I can find absolutely no source, besides dumblaws.com, to indicate that this Liverpool law is true. Which is why I’m labeling it as false, until proven otherwise. If it does happen to be true, I’d really like to know what the original reason for passing such a law was.
- The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen-Well, every site I go to has referenced the BBC website and the BBC themselves seem to be relying on an obscure little book The Strange Laws of Old England by Nigel Cawthorne. Not only that the article has been amended multiple times for removing unverifiable laws so I would take this one with a grain of salt.
- In the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow-It is still technically legal to kill Scots in York, as long as they are carrying a bow and arrow, but a new report says it’s time to bury the legislation and clean up the statute book. So, anyone planning to bump off a Scotsman in York is running out of time as more than 800 laws, some of them dating back to the 14th century, are reportedly destined for the scrapheap in UK.
- In Texas, people wishing to run for office must acknowledge the “Supreme Being.”– If not, they could be subjected to religious tests. In other words: no atheists allowed. And it’s not just Texas. In seven U.S. states, according to their constitutions, atheists are barred from holding public office.While a unanimous Supreme Court decision in 1961 ruled states could not have a “religious test” for public office and Article VI of the United States Constitution echoes the statement that no “religious test” should ever be needed for federal positions, there are several more recent examples of attempts to enforce such provisions.
- It’s against the law to sing off-key in North Carolina-The most tangible piece of evidence of these laws was a North Carolina Supreme Court case that dates back to 1873: State v. Linkhaw.William Linkhaw, a member of a Methodist church in Lumberton, was indicted for disturbing a religious congregation with his poor singing skills. Linkhaw claimed it was his duty to sing as a means of properly worshiping God and stated it was never his intention to disturb the congregation.During the trial, a witness was asked to imitate Linkhaw’s singing, which “produced a burst of prolonged and irresistible laughter, convulsing alike the spectators, the Bar, the jury and the Court.” Linkhaw was found guilty but appealed his case. The original judgment was overturned as the judge ruled that a person disturbing a religious congregation can be disciplined by the church but not the state.It’s a head-scratcher, how an act as innocent as singing off key could ruffle enough feathers to make it the subject of a state’s Supreme Court, but with context, it sort of makes sense.
- You may not sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same customer on a Sunday in Rhode Island-So, if you have two members of your household and you need to go shopping it would make it easier shopping at the same store. It is pretty difficult to validate this law with no set backstory although most sites mention that its only true for Providence.
- In Arkansas there still exists a law that was instated in the 1800s that states a husband is allowed to beat his wife, but only once a month-Funnily enough, the first question that comes to mind is not why men are allowed to beat their wives? It was 200 years ago and things were just different then or something. The immediate question is why in Gods name is it only once a month? Did they have a specific date in mind? I wonder if there is a wife beating calendar out there somewhere that goes with this law.
- In Hong Kong, there’s a law that allows a wife to kill her husband if she finds him cheating-However, she must kill him with her bare hands. Not only that, the husband’s lover may be killed in any manner desired.
- In Russia, Vladimir Putin just recently made it illegal to tell kids that gay people exist– The bill, which the Russian legislature passed on June 11 in a unanimous 434-0 vote and again June 26, literally now makes it illegal to tell children gay people exist, or that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality, and provides for fines, jail time, and immediate deportation for those who violate the law. Putin’s signing of the bill into law comes just one day after police allowed anti-gay mobs to violently attack LGBT people and their supporters at a gay pride rally in St. Petersburg.“The federal amendments expanded on a law that protects children from pornography and other ‘harmful information,” acording to Bloomberg News. “The bill prohibits the distribution of information intended to promote or spread ‘non-traditional sexual orientations’ among minors, or a ‘distorted conception of the equivalence between traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.”The climate for LGBT people in Russia is growing from bad to worse, and Putin’s new law will only serve to support more anti-LGBT violence and hate crimes.
- In Argentina, there is a law that states that Argentine nightclubs must play the same amount of tango music as all other forms of music combined-Need I say anymore.