Curse in Public, Pay $20

Image: ABC News

Image: ABC News

Residents of Middleborough, Mass., voted on Monday to impose a $20 fine for public swearing. However, if numerous news reports are correct, you won’t be ticketed for dropping the F-bomb the next time you spill your Starbucks in public.

Town officials claim the ticketing–which will be handled by police– was created to crack down on loud, profanity-laden language used by teens and other young people in the downtown area and public parks. The vote took place at a town meeting, with residents voting 183-50 in favor.

Naturally this raises questions about constitutional free speech rights, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot prohibit public speech just because it contains profanity. However, any real resolution to this law will most likely get played out in court only after someone is ticketed and decides to contest it.

Where do you stand on the issue?