Lifestyle & Belief

Middleborough,MA considers $20 fine for swearing in public


The proposal is intended to crack down on loud profanity heard in Middleborough's downtown areas and public parks.


Adam Pretty

The town of Middleborough in Massachusetts is considering introducing a $20 fine for swearing in public.

Associated Press reports that a town meeting will vote on the proposal which has been put forward by the town’s police chief, Bruce Gates.

It explains that supporters say the proposal is intended to crack down on loud profanity heard in downtown areas and public parks.

"The cursing has gotten very, very bad. I find it appalling and I won't tolerate it," Mimi Duphily, a civic leader told the Wall Street Journal. "No person should be allowed to talk in that manner."

Gates says his proposal is not aimed at "ordinary swears," but more at offenses like "profane language at some attractive female walking through town." Cursing, like drinking in public and throwing rubbish, is another "quality of life" issue, he argues.

Middleborough has had a bylaw against public profanity since 1968, the Boston Globe explains, but it is not enforced, namely because it makes swearing a crime. Gates' proposal would decriminalize profanity, allowing police to write tickets as they would for traffic violations.

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