How Blue is Your State?

Bluelaw
Having grown up and lived all my life in California there is one thing I’ve never had to live with: Blue Laws.

These are laws that usually take the form of prohibiting sales of alcohol on particular days, most often on Sunday. I simply don’t understand the laws. Well, that’s not true. Clearly they are a reflection of our country’s puritan origins, our continued commitment to religion as well as reflecting the prohibitionist streak that runs through parts of the country still.

The state of Connecticut is debating whether or not to soften their blue laws….slightly. A move is afoot to lift the current ban on Sunday alcohol sales, but only on those Sundays when the next Monday is either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. There are a number of liquor store owners who feel they are loosing considerable revenue due to the ban following on these days.

Apparently there is an annual attempt to get rid of the CT Blue Laws that is a regular failure. Even the liquor store owners tend to be against any change. Reading the above cited article one of those reasons appears to be quality of life: Liquor store owner simply like being home on Sunday.

It’s hard to argue with that, I suppose. Nevertheless, I remain somewhat baffled at the reverence that is paid to these puritanical laws. It’s the California in me, I’m sure.


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  1. Lenn - March 3, 2006

    I grew up in PA and we had the same sort of law. In college, we used to send our pledges across the state line into Ohio to buy beer on Sundays 🙂
    Of course PA also has “pink house” laws….any house with more than 5 or 6 women living in it is considered a brothel. So every college campus was teeming with prostitutes if PA law is to be believed.

  2. Outdoorgrrl - March 3, 2006

    Washington just started allowing alcohol sales on Sunday. And let me tell you, the state’s gone to hell in a handbasket! (Just kiddng.)

  3. wineguy - March 3, 2006

    One nice thing about blue laws is that things really close down one day a week. It’s not just alcohol sales…the only things you can buy in some states on Sundays is “necessities.” Of course, then you get to argue about what necessities really are — you can buy milk but not potatoes, etcetera. But it makes for a better rhythm to the week than the California open 24/7 style, I think.

  4. Terry Hughes - March 6, 2006

    wineguy expresses what I suspect is a common sentiment among those of us who grew up in strict Blue Law states–in my case Massachusetts, where you used to have to keep the Sabbath whether you wanted to or not. The Blue Laws were a real pain in the arse; you could go to the pharmacy, back when they were just pharmacies, and that was about it. Forget buying a loaf of bread. A bottle of wine? Ha!
    On the other hand, NY state just started allowing Sunday sales of wine and spirits last year, and it’s damned nice to be able to pop into the local place to pick up something for dinner at a friend’s, or to head to a big wine store like Astor to take advantage of a 25% off sale.
    On the whole, I think I’ll risk eternal damnation.

  5. Rontruth - October 25, 2009

    Interesting commentary about everyone keeping the “Sabbath.” The word derives from the word, “Shabbath,” or “Shabbath,” or “Shabbos, depending on which dialect or time period that the Hebrew word was spoken. Notice the word, “Hebrew.” You might take note of the fact the Jesus (Yeshua, as spoken in Hebrew) was a Torah-observant Israelite, an ethnic Jew.
    Though, as a Messianic Jew who observes the Sabbath on the day announced in the Garden of Eden, and maintained as part of the Ten Commandments formally given at Mt. Sinai to an Israelite (Jew) leader, Moses, by God, Himself, it was included in the “Perpetiual Covenant” between God and man. God told Moses that, “I am the Lord your God. I change not.”
    When He gave the entire Covenant to Moses, with the Statutes and Judgements, He told Moses that “these are My Statutes, My Laws and My Judgements. You shall keep them throughout all your generations, forever.”
    Jesus, in Mathhew 23 defended this same Law. He said to His followers, “When the rabbis sit in Moses’ bench in the synagogues and teach, listen to them and do what they say.” When sitting on that bench, they were sworn to only read the first five books of the Bible (the Torah).
    Jesus never made any change in any of the Law of Moses other than to end the animal sacrifices and Temple rituals at His death.
    The issue of keeping the Sabbath should, in this country with a Constitution that describes freedom of conscience, should at least allow those who observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, to do so and open their stores on Sunday, just as Sunday keeping Christians open their stores on Saturday. Let real freedom ring. God has always blessed America when her people teach freedom of conscience, while teaching their young to abstain from alcohol and other drugs. They destroy morality.


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