The day after Christmas last year, I moved from Indianapolis, IN to Fort Worth, TX. I was excited about the change of scenery, the warmer climate, and the lack of state taxes. Texas often espouses mental images of a libertarian mecca, with people chugging beer out of cowboy hats while shooting off assault rifles into the distance. It’s not that perfect, however.
In Indianapolis, carry-out alcohol isn’t sold on Sundays at all. There is one exception – having a refillable “growler” from one of the area’s craft breweries – which really takes away any legs the law had to stand on.
Regardless, there were too many occurrences where all I wanted was an Old Fashioned during Sunday football but didn’t make it to the liquor store the day before.
In Texas, beer and wine can be bought on Sundays after noon, but nothing over 17 percent ABV can be sold per the TABC. And in Irion County, Texas, beer is the only thing allowed to be sold – on any day of the week.
Texas and Indiana’s outdated alcohol laws – coined “blue laws” back in the 1600’s – are a direct impediment upon individual liberties, and their origin still primarily comes from religious conservative legislation. Sunday is viewed as a day of rest in the Christian religion, and activities such as gambling and Sunday car sales remain illegal in the state of Texas.
Blue laws have been challenged time and time again, and consistently upheld by the Supreme Court citing the same religious argument. In the case of McGowan v. Maryland, Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled that “the State seeks to set one day apart from all others as a day of rest, repose, recreation and tranquility–a day which all members of the family and community have the opportunity to spend and enjoy together, a day on which there exists relative quiet and disassociation from the everyday intensity of commercial activities, a day on which people may visit friends and relative who are not available during working days.”
It seems to me unfair – and unconstitutional – for the state to restrict something legal every other day of the week. Perhaps some want their day of “rest, repose, recreation and tranquility” to involve an ice cold beer, a glass of Merlot, or some bourbon on the rocks. Indiana candidate for Governor Rex Bell once quipped, “I have always maintained anything that is legal on Saturday should be legal on Sunday.” I couldn’t agree more.
With the state of the world as it is, blue laws seem a mundane point to address. But the fight towards individualism and liberty must be won one step at a time.
And what better way to win it than with a beer in hand?