Marcus Tullius Cicero is famous for saying essentially: “More laws equals less justice.” The fact is that irrational legislators are a sign of a failing society, be these unsound laws on Saudi or American soil. The upside to irrational laws is that they can be hilarious… when you’re not directly affected by them.
The backwardness can even take the form of obtuse things (like sex with animals) being legal. Perversions of justice can work in both directions.
1. It is illegal to grow a garden in your front yard
In cities like Ferguson (MO), Des Moines (Iowa), Tulsa (OK), and Orlando (FL) it is illegal to grow produce in your front lawn. But, how can your front yard be your private property if you are not even allowed to grow what you want there?
2. It is legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in 29+ states
Right now, in 29 of 50 US states, you could technically be fired for being everything between heteronormative and transhomo and face no recourse. Although the law is interpreted as threatening homosexuals and transgender people, it could technically be abused to fire pretty much anyone from pretty much any job. If we aren’t all protected from discrimination, aren’t we all at risk?
3. You can fire a missile in South Caroline if you get permission from the Department of Commerce
Seriously: you can fire off a missile in South Caroline as long as you first ask permission from the Department of Commerce. Why the DOC is deciding who gets to fire off missiles is a good question in itself…
4. There are several states in the US where it is technically legal to have sex with animals
It isn’t exactly “legal” in these places, but simple “undesignated” or “undeclared.” In most states, it is either a felony or a misdemeanor to have sex with a cow, sheep, or other animal, but in states like Utah: it doesn’t appear to bother them.
5. In Florida, you may not live with your sexual partner unless you are married
Hundreds of people have been thrown into jail for this in the last decade. Their crime? Simply living under the same roof as their romantic partner, but not deciding to get married. I am not alone in thinking that the decision to get married, or not, rests with the people and not the state: there are people working to overthrow this law right now.
6. It is illegal for children to hold hands in Tennessee
Tennessee is leading the way not just with its backwards abstinence based sexual education programs (which have been shown to not work, and provide insufficient information to allow teenagers to make intelligent choices regarding sex), but also in its restrictive laws for kids. In Tennessee, it is illegal for kids to hold hands in school (officially, this is “gateway sexual activity”), fearing that it will lead to pregnancy.
7. It appears to be illegal to slurp soup in New Jersey
That seems odd, doesn’t it? Apparently, it is illegal to slurp soup too loudly in New Jersey, resulting in a fine if a nearby officer of the law is having a bad day.
8. Marijuana is illegal, prohibited as a Class I substance, in most US states
This is one of the most irrational laws still around on a national level. Despite the fact that cannabis is shown, recreationally, to be far less dangerous than either alcohol or nicotine: it remains illegal in the majority of the United States. Not only does this hamper both the use of hemp for industrial purposes, but it also blocks cannabis for being used in cancer research.
9. It is illegal to give the homeless food in over 21 cities
The United States publically describes itself as a “Christian nation.” Ironically, it is also illegal to give food to the needy in over 20 cities. How can you simultaneously claim to belong to a religion based on generosity, forgiveness, and kindness, and then demand that those with close to nothing should be forced to starve?
10. It seems to be illegal to talk in an elevator in New York
In an effort to “reduce harassment,” New York put a law in its books that forbids citizens from talking to strangers in an elevator. Why someone, sometime, thought this was a necessary or appropriate law is, despite the explanation, beyond me.