Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 6, 2022

A strange law exists in Maryland - The condom law is currently being broken in Levering Hall

By Lindsay Saxe | September 13, 2001

Any Hopkins girl, or any female student in the state of Maryland for that matter, will soon be confronted with the horrible reality of a particular arcane and ancient law that is still on the books. Regardless of its absurdity, the brothel law (yes, the brothel law) of Maryland still affects the living situations of thousands of college-aged girls. Under this old law, sorority housing is illegal because it allows over five females to live under one roof. While Hopkins has adhered to this law (I cite our lack of Kappa and Theta houses), we have egregiously broken a stranger Maryland law right here on our Homewood campus.

After an extensive search into the gritty depths of Maryland law, there turned out to be one that specifically prohibits the sale of condoms from vending machines. The single exception says condoms can be sold in "places where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises."

For those of you who are freshman, who have never been in the basement of Levering Union, or who don't know what I'm talking about, this is where the law breaking is taking place. The next time you are walking past Arrelano Theater, hang a quick right before making your way into the cafeteria and visit the men's bathroom. Even if you're a girl, it's worth seeing. I'm sure a condom machine is not a new sight for Hopkins students' eyes, but a law-breaking one is not something you see everyday. Besides, why not stock up for the big weekend?

Now, I can hear everyone saying that Levering used to have this great place called E-level that served alcoholic beverages, but I'm a sophomore and that was way before my time here. As far as I'm concerned, there are only one or two days a year that this machine is legal - those rare days when there is an event that is sponsored by P.J's or some other alcohol vendor.

This machine may, however, be useful since there is now a slight shortage in the condoms available at the Health Center and in those little envelopes that the R.A.'s post in the dorms.

It is quite clear that this minor infraction is probably just another one of the tiny reminders left over from Levering Hall's heyday. If anyone really paid attention to every Maryland law, then it would be virtually impossible to live. There are strange laws still on the books such as one that states it is "illegal to mistreat oysters." I would like to know what that entails. There is also another one that prohibits washing sinks in this Old Line State. So, for everyone that has a bathroom or a kitchen, that's one reason you could use to get out of cleaning - it is an offence punishable by a fine. There is one more law that prohibits cursing within the Baltimore City limits. I'm guessing there are about two people in the entire city who have not broken that law. Another law prohibits the playing of Randy Newman's "Short People" on the radio.

It is interesting though, that laws like these are not enforced, while an equally-bogus brothel law is. That law is just waiting to be challenged. Every state in the U.S. has goofy laws such as these that have not been brought to court. They are still around for the American people to ponder.

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