1921 January 2

California, Oregon Only States without “Sunday” Laws

 

California and Oregon, it was reported on this day, are the only states in the nation without a “Sunday” law. “Sunday”, or “Sunday Closing,” or “Blue” laws in the other 46 states mandate observance of the Christian Sabbath, primarily by prohibiting businesses from being open on Sunday. In that respect, Sunday laws represent an establishment of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

California actually had two short-lived Sunday laws in the nineteenth century, both of which were repealed because of either public opposition or court decisions. The California Supreme Court declared an 1858 Sunday law unconstitutional five months after it was passed. An 1861 law, meanwhile, was repealed 1883.

Opposition to Sunday closing laws grew in the 1950s and 1960s because of increased public opposition to the establishment of religion. On May 19, 1961, however, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a Maryland Sunday closing law, in McGowan v. Maryland, on the grounds that it served the secular purpose of promoting a day of rest.

Sunday closing laws disappeared in the late 1960s and 1970s primarily because of pressure from businesses who wanted to operate seven days a week.

Learn more about “Sunday” or “Blue” laws here.

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!