Is it legal to display a sign containing profanity?

“Is it legal to display a sign containing profanity? | The sign in question is located in a window on the main street in Sunbury, PA and is political in nature.

Short answer: Yes.

tummp bs

“Campaign sign, flag stir free speech argument in Sunbury”The Daily Item

But the PA Post foes further:

Longer answer: While we continue to discuss the breadth of the First Amendment at both local and national levels, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled profanity generally falls under the umbrella of free speech, so long as it is not threatening or obscene.

There has been much legal debate over what qualifies as “obscene” material. Here in Pennsylvania, the law specifies explicit sexual materials and defines the term as such:

“Obscene.”  Any material or performance, if:

(1)  the average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the subject matter taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest;

(2)  the subject matter depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct of a type described in this section; and

(3)  the subject matter, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value.

We encountered a political sign with a profane word earlier this year in Wyoming County. The homeowner there wanted to show his support for President Trump and knew that his signage was attracting attention, but he didn’t seem to care.


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