CItizens of Middleborough, Mass. who like to swear loudly in public might have to pay for doing so, as the town recently approved a proposed fine on public profanity.
The ban was passed at a town meeting last night, but officials say it isn’t meant to censor private conversations – instead – it’s meant to discourage loud, coarse language used by young people in public areas.
The measure could raise questions about First Amendment rights, but state law does allow 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. [The] legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot prohibit public speech just because it contains profanity.