Massachusetts Town's Fine for Swearing in Public: $20
Keep it clean in public, folks
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2012 8:28 AM CDT
Dagnabbit!   (?andrewrennie)

(Newser) – Say it with us: "Oh, fudge." Anyone traveling to Middleborough, Mass., will want to make sure such phrases are part of their vocabulary, because anyone caught swearing in a public area will now be slapped with a $20 fine. Town residents voted 183-50 last night in approval of the proposal, which is intended to target the loud and obscene who turn the air blue in public parks and downtown areas; quiet curses in private conversations are apparently still OK.

But what about the First Amendment? It's a little murky: The Supreme Court has previously ruled the government can't bar public speech due to profanity, but state law currently allows towns to enforce local laws that give police the power to arrest anyone who "addresses another person with profane or obscene language" in a public place, reports the AP. The Boston Globe notes that a few other fines are joining the town's ranks: $50 for littering or shoveling snow into the street, and $300 for smoking pot in public.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Massachusetts Town's Fine for Swearing in Public: $20 is...
52%
16%
2%
3%
16%
11%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 25 comments
Tology
Jun 13, 2012 11:05 AM CDT
I would love to go there rattle off a bunch of curse words and just hand them the money.
WarmWeatherGuy
Jun 12, 2012 9:34 PM CDT
I find this offensive. Free speech is sacred. If you're offended by mere words then you are defective. Most likely your parents did this to you. Children are not offended by profanity until someone teaches them to be. Stop the chain of child abuse. Get past your own abuse and do not train others to feel bad by words.
Blah_Blah_Blah_Blah
Jun 12, 2012 3:00 PM CDT
If I were fined with this I would take it to court and appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court. This DEFINITELY infringes on First Amendment rights!!!