“Blue Laws” May Make Super Bowl Fans “Blue”

With the Super Bowl around the corner, many Americans are stocking up on yummy treats — including spirits, beer, and wine. But in some localities and states, consumers had better get their alcohol related-supplies on Saturday unless they want to host a “dry,” Super Bowl event. A number of jurisdictions have Sunday bans on alcohol retail sales (you will still be able to drink at a bar in most cases).

Fortunately, a quick news search reveals that a number of states and localities may eliminate Sunday restrictions.  These include: Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, South Dakota, some South Carolina counties, some Alabama countries, as well as Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Oxford, Mississippi.

The main proponents of such limitations are the few retailers who don’t want to be open on Sunday — and they don’t want their competition to fill that void. They partner with religious groups — in a bootlegger-and-Baptist coalition — who think Sunday should be reserved for worship not drinking or even shopping.

Now if you are religious, you might say they have a point. As a Catholic, I understand that the work of shopping on Sunday isn’t really permitted beyond perhaps picking up essentials for a meal. Of course, for me, wine is an essential! But more importantly, those sentiments belong in the private sphere. I can decide not to do my heavy shopping on Sunday, to attend mass, and relax with family — but I don’t have the right to ban commerce on Sundays any more than I have the right to mandate that people attend services. At the end of the day, the pursuit of a religious conviction is only good when it is voluntary.

It’s time lawmakers make “blue laws” voluntary — but doing away with them. Lest they make us blue when we can’t even pick up beer to enjoy with a Sunday Super Bowl event.