Is that a Law?

South Carolina has a few strange laws that are obviously outdated, but still around today. Many of the laws are so intense that most people question their legitimacy before learning that they’re actual laws.

Since several of these strange laws are rarely spoken of, we want to share some of them with you. Have you broken any of these laws? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

 If a man promises to marry an unmarried woman, the marriage must take place.

Title 16 – Crimes and Offenses
Offenses Against Morality And Decency

Miscellaneous Offenses

SECTION 16-15-50. Seduction under promise of marriage.


“A male over the age of sixteen years who by means of deception and promise of marriage seduces an unmarried woman in this State is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined at the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than one year. There must not be a conviction under this section on the uncorroborated testimony of the woman upon whom the seduction is charged, and no conviction if at trial it is proved that the woman was at the time of the alleged offense lewd and unchaste. If the defendant in any action brought under this section contracts marriage with the woman, either before or after the conviction, further proceedings of this section are stayed.”

Musical instruments (and a lot of other things) may not be sold on Sundays.

Title 53 – Sundays, Holidays and Other Special Days


SECTION 53-1-60. Sale of certain items on Sunday prohibited.


“The sale or offer to sell the following items on Sunday is prohibited: Clothing and clothing accessories (except those which qualify as swimwear, novelties, souvenirs, hosiery, or undergarments); housewares, china, glassware, and kitchenware; home, business and office furnishings, and appliances; tools, paints, hardware, building supplies, and lumber; jewelry, silverware, watches, clocks, luggage, musical instruments, recorders, recordings, radios, television sets, phonographs, record players or so-called hi-fi or stereo sets, or equipment; sporting goods (except when sold on premises where sporting events and recreational facilities are permitted); yard or piece goods; automobiles, trucks, and trailers. No inference shall arise from the foregoing enumeration that either the sale or the offering for sale on Sunday of items or articles not mentioned is permitted.”

Dance halls may not operate on Sundays.

Title 52 – Amusements and Athletic Contests


Dance Halls

SECTION 52-13-10. Operation on Sunday forbidden.


“It shall be unlawful for any person to keep open or admit persons to any public dancing hall owned or operated by him or to allow any person to continue thereat between the hours of twelve o’clock, midnight, Saturday and twelve o’clock, midnight, Sunday, and all such places shall be and remain closed to the public between such hours. The violation of the provisions of this section shall subject the offender to a fine of not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars for the first offense and for the second offense not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for thirty days.”


Fortune tellers are required to obtain a special permit from the state.

Title 40 – Professions and Occupations
Peddlers And Hawkers, Horse Traders And Fortunetellers

FORTUNE TELLERS SECTION 40-41-310. Licenses required for itinerant fortunetellers.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to follow the business of fortunetelling in any of the counties of this State, by traveling from place to place, without first obtaining from the clerk of the court of the county in which he wishes to follow his trade, a license permitting him to so do. Such license shall be issued by the clerks of court of the counties of this State to any person applying for it upon payment by the applicant of the sum of one hundred dollars. The license shall specify the name of the applicant and his former residence and shall be for a period of one year from the issuance thereof. But this section shall not be effective in any county until the county board of commissioners of such county authorize, by resolution, the collection of such tax. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days for each and every offense.”

These are just a few from the long list of laws that could use a revisit or two.

The content in these regulations makes it obvious that the legislators were arbitrary and ancient in their perspective. What makes this so interesting is these are still real laws today.

Updated on April 26, 2022

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