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Some of the laws are just downright bizarre, while quite a few others seem to have come from outdated (and very sexist) beginnings.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

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack