Opponents, supporters rally on Mass. swearing code

June 25, 2012 - 10:39 PM
No Swearing Town Protest

Peg Carter participates in a rally in front of Town Hall in Middleborough, Mass. Monday, June 25, 2012 in opposition to the proposed $20 fine for public profanity. (AP Photo/New Bedford Standard Times, Peter Pereira)

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Several dozen people have held a profanity laced rally to protest a Massachusetts town's bylaw allowing police to hand out $20 tickets for public swearing.

Some people shouted curse words while others carried profane posters supporting free speech at Monday's rally in the rain on the Middleborough Town Hall lawn. People who support the bylaw also showed up.

The protest rally was organized by Adam Kokesh, a libertarian who publishes podcasts online from a Virginia studio. He says police can "steal from you if they don't like what's coming out of your mouth."

But police won't be issuing any tickets until the state attorney general determines if the bylaw making public cursing a civil offense is constitutional. The bylaw was passed overwhelmingly two weeks ago at a town meeting.

Public swearing was a crime under a seldom-enforced 1968 bylaw.