Weirdest Laws In New Mexico

The 47th state to be admitted into the union, New Mexico has a lot to offer those who visit. Beautiful Santa Fe has the distinction of being the oldest city that was made a state capital in the entire United States, and has become a magnet for artists all over the world. First populated in 1607, this small city was formed more than a decade before the Pilgrims ever landed in modern-day Massachusetts.

The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano has been a popular attraction for over a century, welcoming throngs of tourists from all over the world. This cave, set inside a collapsed lava tube of an ancient volcano, is part of a unique "fire and ice" tour that only New Mexico has to offer.

All states have their attractions and unique amenities. But no matter what state you reside in or plan to visit, you might be surprised at some of the laws that are still on the books. Ranging from the outdated to the just plain bizarre, New Mexico has its fair share of weirdness that passed the legal muster at the time and became various laws of the land

Some laws were rooted in sexism

Like most states, there were laws likely passed in New Mexico to keep certain people submissive. Women seemed to have bared the brunt of this motive, as is noticeable in some of the laws that were passed in this state generations ago.

For example, in the city of Carrizozo, it is against the law for a woman to appear in public with legs or underarms that are unshaven (per The Fact File). Trivia Sharp tells us that women are also prohibited from pumping their own gas or changing a flat tire. 

There must have been a bunch of prudes in positions of authority at one point in the state legislature. At one time, "more than 400 words of sexually explicit material" were ordered by law to be cut from Shakespeare's classic play, "Romeo and Juliet" (via Stupid Laws). As if it's not hard enough getting kids to read, they took away the best parts.

They pass a lot of laws about horses

Sometimes, it's the weird laws within a city that make it really stand out. For instance, if you are a cab driver in Albuquerque, you are not legally allowed to physically pull your fares into your cab (via Stupid Laws). No word on whether this law applies to Uber or Lyft.

Should you find yourself in Las Cruces, don't think you can just walk down the street with your lunch box. Carrying your meal in a container on Main St. is a punishable offense (via Roosevelt Review). 

If fate finds you traveling through the small town of Raton on a horse, you'd better not be wearing your kimono. The lawmakers here have expressly forbidden it. And speaking of horses, we know how tempting it can be to deliberately trip one. Well, you should probably think twice about this act of mischief. It will surely get you in legal trouble.

Speaking of horses again, women are totally allowed to travel on horseback throughout the small town of Omega. But she'd better be wearing her corset, or there's going to be a problem (via Only in Your State).   

From dueling to sombreros

Care for a dance? New Mexico doesn't have any weird laws that prohibit it. But you'd be breaking the law if you didn't first remove your sombrero (per The Roosevelt Review).

Most civilized people would agree that dueling should be against the law, and the lawmakers of New Mexico concur. But in this state, it's also illegal to challenge someone to a duel, or for someone to accept that challenge, even if the dual never occurs (per Tucker, Yoder, & Associates). 

Have you ever had a difficult time remembering how to spell someone's name? Better double and triple check your spelling if you are in the newspaper business in New Mexico. Misspelling a person's name in a print publication is against the law. 

Thinking about going to the Opera House in the town of Deming? You better not spit on the steps, or you might find yourself getting a fine. In fact, laws prohibiting spitting in public are fairly prominent in cities and towns all over New Mexico (via Liner Law). 

Laws governing nakedness

Tucker, Yoder, & Associates inform us that one must exercise caution when it comes to the New Mexico state anthem or the United States national anthem. It is illegal to "improperly use" either song in public and is considered a petty misdemeanor. Each anthem must be sung with the proper lyrics and music and must be sung or performed in its entirety.

Feel like ghost hunting? Don't do it in the town of Deming (via The Roosevelt Review). They also don't want anyone to aimlessly meander around their city cemeteries, as they wish to keep all pedestrian traffic on the walkways. This city won't allow bicycles in their cemeteries, so you'd better be visiting your loved ones while on foot. 

According to Only in Your State, servers in bars and restaurants are forbidden to show their genitals. And speaking of nudity, it's permissible for men to be naked in public, so long as their nether regions are obscured from view. For women in New Mexico, wandering around topless won't get you into any legal trouble so long as nipples aren't visible. 

Who can't vote?

Finally, we have a weird law that some of us might be able to unite behind. State law in New Mexico has a provision in their voting statutes that disallow "idiots" from casting votes at the ballot box (via Stupid Laws). "Every citizen of the United States, who is over the age of 21 years, and has resided in New Mexico 12 months, in the county 90 days, and in the precinct in which he offers to vote 30 days, next preceding the election, except idiots, insane persons, and persons convicted of a felonious or infamous crime..." the law states.

No word on whether there was ever a means to enforce this law, but rumor has it other states have lawmakers standing by for answers. While not a perfect system by any means, maybe the lawmakers of past generations had the best of intentions when they crafted some of the laws in this great state.