Illegal to Marry on a Dare? Delaware Laws You Didn’t Know Existed

Posted by RahaimSaints on March 11, 2015 | Community Events

There are a number of important factors that should go into the decision to marry someone. Peer pressure, however, shouldn’t be one of them.

It may seem silly to marry someone as a dare. The phenomenon, however, was apparently widespread enough for the American Law Review to publish an article on it in 1950.

In Delaware, entering into marriage “as a jest or a dare” is one of the grounds for annulment. While laws like this aren’t uncommon, they are increasingly rarely invoked as no-fault divorce has become easier to obtain.

In addition to this law, there are plenty of other rare laws in Delaware you might find amusing. Read on for more.

Pawnshops and Artificial Limbs

Looking for a good deal on a wooden leg or other artificial limb? Don’t bother checking with your local pawnshop. If fact, Delaware is the only state in which it is legally forbidden for a pawnbroker “to take or receive as a pledge or pawn any artificial limb or wheelchair.”

First passed in 1907, this law has remained on the books for almost a century. Unfortunately, any insight into what prompted it in the first place has been lost to the ages.

Horseracing Holidays

medium 3308608453 Illegal to Marry on a Dare? Delaware Laws You Didn’t Know Existed

Delaware is known for its many world-class casinos and racetracks. For two days a year, however, the whole operation shuts down.

Interestingly, the statute prohibiting horseracing on Good Friday and Easter Sunday dates back only as far as 1973. Rather than being a weird holdover from our Puritan past, it’s actually a more recent relaxing of a law originally banning racing every Sunday.

In fact, Delaware has a long history of keeping Sunday a day of rest. During various times in history, there were laws on the book prohibiting hunting, fishing, dancing, cock fighting and a number of other activities on the holy day.

Weird Laws Debunked

You may be shocked to learn not everything you read on the Internet is true. Over at the Widener Law Library blog, Janet Lindenmuth has debunked some of the more prevalent so-called laws attributed to our state.

Maybe you’ve heard that it’s illegal to wear tight pants in Lewes? Or that you can’t sell dead people in the state without a license? What about the supposed ban on flying over a body of water without a supply of food or drink? Unfortunately, none of them are true.

Weird Local Laws

It isn’t too much of a surprise to learn that most of the ostensibly Delaware laws floating around online don’t hold up to much scrutiny. When we look at the local level, however, things get a bit more interesting.

A number of towns in our state have kept laws on the books that may seem funny or surprising. Rehoboth Beach has some of the most notable. In this popular seaside vacation destination, it is illegal to:

  • Change into or out of a bathing suit in a public bathroom or in one’s car.
  • Disturb a church proceeding by whispering or other rude behavior.
  • Pretend to sleep on a bench on the boardwalk.

While on their own these may seem like bizarre or bizarrely specific laws, the fact is that most of them are probably useful in a sleepy beach town whose population swells to over 25,000 each summer. Ultimately the legal system is a fairly precise instrument. While some quaint or odd laws are bound to slip through the cracks, more often than not there’s a logical explanation lurking behind each one.

Leave a Comment
  • Fill in your details below: