Weirdest Laws In Vermont

While one of the smallest states in the U.S., Vermont certainly packs a lot of beauty in for its size. Scenic drives throughout the Green Mountains await the tourists who flock to this state every fall to take in the wonders of nature. This state is a hiker and biker paradise, with a multitude of trails that range from easy to extremely challenging. Novices will love exploring the popular Burlington Pike Path, while more experienced outdoors folk will follow the 40,000 or so tourists that make it to the top of Mount Mansfield each year (per Vermont Explored). 

Somewhere in between the mountain landscape and the shores of Lake Champlain, generations of lawmakers have done in Vermont what lawmakers in every other state have done. They've passed laws to help protect citizens and property. When you pass thousands and thousands of laws, you expect a few of them will leave you scratching your head. 

You might not think that such a small state would pack in so much weirdness in their judicial system. Yet, after you read some of the following laws that were possibly passed in the Green Mountain State, you'll probably agree that Vermont is home to some of the weirdest statutes ever to come out of a state legislature.

No whistling underwater!

Lawmakers in the state of Vermont have passed some unusual laws regarding painting. For example, it is against state law for anyone to paint a landscape during a time of war. It's difficult to imagine what might have led up to someone proposing this sort of law, let alone rallying an entire legislature to pass it (via Stupid Laws). There's also a law in Vermont that makes it illegal to paint a horse. No mention of whether giving its mane a proper dye job is state approved.

Anyone considered a vagrant in the state is allowed to ask for food. However, there is purportedly a law that prohibits a vagrant from taking food by force.

Even though the laws of science make it impossible, the state of Vermont has made it illegal to whistle while you are underwater (per Vermonter). We were unable to specify if this was a prohibition on whistling with your lips, using a coach's whistle, or both.

Delivering to certain homes requires walking backward

Stupid Laws tells us that lawmakers passed a law years ago that makes it illegal to defame any court in Vermont. Referring to a courtroom as a "kangaroo court" will possibly result in you getting a citation, as well as a fine that can be as high as $200 (via Liner Law). 

Every state in the U.S. has laws against anyone under the age of 21 consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages. However, most states will make legal exceptions for religious ceremonies, such as a mass or Seder. Not so in Vermont. Minors are still prohibited from partaking in these religious rituals, which have resulted in religious leaders being fined and/or jailed.

Should you be a delivery person in the Green Mountain State, be aware of how you need to deliver to certain homes. If the home you are taking goods to is worth more than $500,000, then you must approach the house walking backward (per Vermonter). So if you're dropping off a pizza to a McMansion, it might be a good idea to consult your Zillow app.

Please do not tie your giraffe to that telephone pole

In what is certainly an affront to religious freedom, the state legislature in Vermont passed a law years ago that made it a punishable offense for denying the existence of God. This law was later repealed (via Stupid Laws). Another law that was on the books for years but was later repealed involved giraffes and telephone polls. Folks who tied their giraffe to one of these utility polls violated the law and were fined. 

Vermont law forbids anyone from removing their clothing in a public space (per Only in Your State). One weird law passed in the 19th century designates who is considered a "Vermonter." Liner Law tells us that one can only be legally considered one if they, their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were born in the state. Anyone not meeting this criterion is known as a "Flatlander." This law was recently renewed by Vermont Governor Phil Scott.

You won't find many billboards along highways

Vermont is also one of four states in the U.S. to have outlawed billboards along their highways. Becoming the first state to do so, Vermont passed the State Billboard Act in 1968 to preserve the beautiful scenery that so many people enjoy in the Green Mountain State. According to the Vermont Natural Resources Council, local governments within the state "can enact on-premise sign regulations that support a community's visual character, invite people to stop at local businesses, and provide direction to travelers."

It's also illegal for anyone to keep doves in their freezer in this state (per Only in Your State). While it might be a weird law to have to pass, the intentions behind it are probably a good thing. Local governments are not allowed to prohibit clotheslines. State law forbids municipalities from barring this "green" method of drying one's clothes.

Women need a signed note for dentures

One of the weirdest laws in Vermont requires a woman to obtain written permission from her husband to get false teeth. HuffPost tells us that this law was passed in 1856, after the court case Gilman v. Andrus. Amazingly enough, this law remains on the books to this day. Thankfully, dentists in Vermont have long since abandoned trying to enforce this bizarre law.

All legal systems are meant to reflect the values within the culture that they represent. Because these values do tend to shift and evolve over time, it's a good thing that there are mechanisms in place to facilitate needed reviews and revisions of our legal codes from time to time. Although, after looking at some of the weird laws still in force, one could argue that these reviews aren't happening enough. At the very least, some of the ones still left give us a good laugh.