People have been living in Georgia since it was founded as an English colony in 1773. That means there are Georgia laws that potentially date back to 1733. That said, it’s impossible to avoid having some older laws on the books—even if these law might not make sense to us in 2016. And Georgia’s not alone. All states have these types of laws.
Some of Georgia’s most outlandish laws include prohibiting keeping a donkey in a bathtub. There’s also a law against keeping ice cream cones in your back pocket on Sundays. One can only speculate as to why these laws were written. Why are they still one the books? That can be chalked up to the fact that these laws are typically not enforced, so lawmakers see no reason to repeal them.
Gainesville, Georgia has an ordinance requiring fried chicken to be eaten with your hands. The ordinance was passed in 1961 as a PR stunt to promote Gainesville’s poultry industry. While most laws like this are never enforced, this one ordinance was famously enforced in 2009 when a 91-year-old woman visiting from Louisiana was arrested and charged with violating the ordinance.
Luckily, the mayor of Gainesville was on hand to pardon her. Plus the whole event was a practical joke organized by a friend of the woman for her 91st birthday (but you’d probably already guessed that).
The fried chicken law in Gainesville was passed because the city was promoting itself and its chicken industry. Other laws (like a lot of morality laws regarding alcohol consumption or obscenity) come from a different generation. Sometimes these laws are not repealed because they’ve been made obsolete by federal laws or federal courts.
In 2003, the Supreme Court found that sodomy laws were unconstitutional. However, as of 2014, 12 states still had their anti-sodomy laws on their books. While Georgia does not have an anti-sodomy law on the books, it does still have an amendment to its Constitution from 2004 that made it unconstitutional to perform or recognize a same-sex marriage. That law has now been nullified by last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergfell v. Hodges.
Want more of Georgia’s most ridiculous laws:
- Residents in Acworth, Georgia are legally required to own a rake
- In Athens-Clarke County, it’s illegal to make a disturbing sound at a fair
- The State of Georgia has a law making it a misdemeanor to be on a public way or public property while wearing a mask or hood concealing all or part of your face (not counting Halloween of course)
- It’s also a misdemeanor to keep a disorderly house
- Quitman, Georgia has made it illegal for chickens to cross the road
- Kennesaw, Georgia has a law requiring residents to own firearms
- Atlanta prohibits vaudeville performers from rendering “coarse jokes”
- Atlanta further limits participants at teen dances to the specific age range of 14-18 years old
- In Marietta, it’s illegal to spit in a public building
The list goes on and on and this is only Georgia. We might not know why these laws were passed but it certainly seems like these laws aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.