Why Are Liquor Stores Still Closed on Sundays?

NakedLaw, Rights

If you’re like most people, you do at least a little bit of drinking on the weekend. There’s nothing quite like being able to kick back on a Sunday afternoon, have a couple of drinks, and not worry about work for a few more hours.

But if you live in one of the 14 states that still has “blue laws” on the books, you might not be able to do this. That’s because these states have liquor store bans that prevent you from buying hard liquor, wine, and even beer (in some states) on Sundays.

Of course, it’s no coincidence that these states ban liquor sales on Sundays. Sunday is the day that most religious Americans go to church. Blue laws were put into place by the Puritans to make sure people were in church, praying and reading their Bibles. Some early blue laws prohibited work, travel, and ever certain recreational activities on Sundays.

But most of these laws have disappeared in the 19th century as the government didn’t want to infringe on citizen’ rights to religious freedoms. But if 14 states still have blue laws on the books restricting Sunday liquor sales, aren’t these states technically violating the separation of church and state?

Which States Block Sunday Sales of Liquor?

While the specific laws vary in each of these states, these are the 14 places still holding onto blue laws for liquor sales.

  1. Montana
  2. Utah
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Minnesota
  6. Indiana
  7. Mississippi
  8. Alabama
  9. Georgia
  10. North Carolina
  11. South Carolina
  12. Tennessee
  13. West Virginia
  14. Connecticut

It’s worth noting that in many of these states, serious efforts are being made to lift these bans once and for all. For instance, mayors of Connecticut’s 3 largest cities are actively pressuring the state to get rid of the “antiquated” laws. Similar efforts are being made in Minnesota and a few other states.

In fact, just 8 years ago, there were nearly 30 states that still prohibited liquor sales on Sundays. Since 2002, 14 states have repealed their blue laws, so it certainly seems possible that many of the remaining states will follow suit in the coming years.

The Benefits of Allowing Liquor Sales on Sundays

Allowing the sale of liquor on Sundays isn’t just about not restricting drinkers from purchasing booze due to outdated religious laws. It’s also about helping the economy. Consider this:

  • One study found that in 12 of the states that have recently allowed liquor to be sold on Sundays, more than $200 million was generated in new state revenue every year.
  • The average liquor store also saw an increase in weekly earning from 5 to 8%
  • New jobs can be created by expanding liquor store hours
  • Consumers benefit from the convenience

Of course, Christians and those with religious interests would point to the fact that in states where blue laws have been repealed, there has been a 15 percent decline in attendance among weekly churchgoers, along with a nearly 25 percent drop in donations. With these statistics, it’s no wonder evangelical groups are so opposed to allowing Sunday liquor store sales. They don’t want to lose money (because we all know preachers don’t make enough).

When blue laws were being overturned in Colorado, some evangelicals even tried arguing it would increase the number of drunk driving accidents and other alcohol-related problems. But in studies of other states that repealed these laws, there was no evidence to support these claims.

Do you live in a state where liquor stores are forced close on Sundays? Do you think these laws violate your rights?