Caroline McCredie/Getty Images News/Getty Images

6 Ridiculous Marriage Laws That Still Exist In 2017

Ad failed to load

As a Canadian, getting to be in New York on the day that same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States was a lovely experience — and it seemed like Americans were finally saying goodbye to the most antiquated marriage law out there. However, after doing a bit of scouting around, I was surprised to find that six ridiculous marriage laws still exist in 2017 in the United States, and I think most Americans would probably be equally shocked by some of the rules governing couples who put a ring on it.

Some of the laws are just downright bizarre, while quite a few others seem to have come from outdated (and very sexist) beginnings. There are several strange laws out there that probably aren't actually enforced on a regular basis, but that still remain as a kind of the skeleton in the closet of legal books and can provide an interesting look at how far we've come as a society.

In South Carolina, Men Can Be Jailed For An Insincere Marriage Proposal

Ad failed to load

In a section titled "Seduction under the promise of marriage," South Carolina's code of laws outlaw proposing to a woman insincerely in order to "seduce" her. In order to convict a man of this heinous crime, though, a witness needs to corroborate the woman's story — and the woman must not have acted "lewd and unchaste" when the insincere proposal went down.

I'm not quite sure what happens when the gender roles are reversed here — but this whole law is absurd and super sexist.

In Many States, Sleeping With Someone Who Isn't Your Spouse Is A Criminal Offense

Ad failed to load

In a surprising number of states, sleeping with someone outside of your marriage can be a criminal offense, worthy of fines and jail time — for not only the spouse who strayed, but for the unmarried person, as well.

I have so many questions about this. Where do open marriages come into play here? Why does the unmarried person have any responsibility? What if they didn't know? Why are we still slut-shaming in 2017?

Maryland, strangely, outlaws "adultery" but only fines folks $10 for straying.

Ad failed to load

No Sleeping Naked In Hotel Rooms In Salem, Massachusetts


It's illegal for married couples to sleep naked in hotel rooms in Salem, Massachusetts, according to Woman's Day. You've got to love those very conservative, impossible-to-enforce laws out there that remind us of how ridiculously traditional the United States used to be.

Ad failed to load

Child Marriage Is Actually Still A Thing, & That's Not At All OK


While some of the outdated laws out there aren't affecting anyone and are worth a laugh, there are some that are actually harmful — and need to be updated ASAP. According to The Washington Post, nearly every state has exceptions to their minimum age rules for marriage, and those workarounds can see children as young as 12 get married with only parental consent or judicial approval needed.

Ad failed to load

This isn't one of those rules that simply exists without causing any real harm, either. Between 2000 and 2010, according to The Washington Post, more than 167,000 children (mostly all female) were married in the United States. Experts say that number could actually even be as high as 248,000.

There Are A Few Places Where Premarital Sex Is Still Technically Illegal

Ad failed to load

In a few states, including Virginia and South Carolina, having sex as an unmarried person is against the law. Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 2003 that essentially ended "all morals legislation," these laws obviously aren't actually enforced — but they somehow remain a part of state legislation.

Same Goes For Living Together Before Marriage

Ad failed to load

If you're into cohabitating without being married (as 18 million Americans were doing last year), you could be breaking the law in a few states. Florida only repealed a law against unmarried cohabitation in 2015, while Michigan and Mississippi are still rocking similar outdated laws. Again, those are rules that are never actually enforced in the two states — but their existence in state legislation means paying tribute to some pretty sexist, outdated times.

As a society, the United States luckily seems to be moving forward in terms of acceptance. Now, if we could just get updated laws that actually reflect that progression, we'd be doing great.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills