(CBS/AP) MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. The quiet town of Middleborough, Mass., just became a little quieter, as the residents voted on Monday night to impose a $20 fine on anyone who curses in public.
Tired of teenagers and some adults shouting obscenities in public areas, the town voted 183-50 to approve a proposal from the police chief to clamp down on public profanity.
Town officials insisted that it will only affect those who use profanity loudly and frequently, allowing officers to use their discretion about whether or not they should ticket people they believe are violating the ban.
The town of Middleborough has had a bylaw against public cursing since 1968, but it was rarely enforced.
"I'm really happy about it. I'm sure there's going to be some fallout, but I think what we did was necessary," said Mimi Duphily, a former town selectwoman, and an auto-shop owner.
"They'll sit on the bench and yell back and forth to each other with the foulest language. It's just so inappropriate," she said, referring to some of the downtown merchants' profanity.
But not everyone agrees.
Local merchant Robert Saquet said he was "ambivalent" about the ban, comparing it to trying to enforce a ban on the seven dirty words muttered by comedian George Carlin.