Posted On Apr 01

Outdated laws. Michigan House Bill 4248 amends the Michigan Penal Code to make it legal to curse in a woman’s presence.

Every state has outdated laws. Michigan may soon lose two questionable ones. Imagine answering a job application question, “Were you ever convicted of a crime?” with the answer, “Why yes, I was once convicted for using harsh language in an email to a fella who refused to accept my invitation to duel. I had to pay a fine of $750 for the bullying tone of my email.” Perhaps a law regulating “duels” is an outdated one?

Here is the first outdated law that may be repealed in 2015:

Section 173 (MCL 750.173):

Prohibits the use of reproachful language in print for not accepting or fighting a duel; a violation is a misdemeanor. The penalty for a violation was raised from a maximum fine of $250 to a maximum fine of $750 by Public Act 672 of 2002.

Epic duel.

Epic duel.
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The second outdated law that may be repealed in 2015 makes it a misdemeanor to use insulting language in the presence of a woman or child. Maximum penalty is 90 days in jail or $500:

Section 337 (MCL 750.337):

Prohibits indecent, immoral, obscene, vulgar, or insulting language in the presence or hearing of a woman or child. A violation is a misdemeanor.

Bart Simpson likes free speech

Bart Simpson likes free speech by Buschap. Available on

In People v. Boomer, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that MCL 750.337 is unconstitutionally vague. 

In the Boomer case, a guy was canoeing on the Rifle River in Arenac County on August 15, 1998. He fell out of his canoe and let loose a string of profanities.  He was one of many canoeists chasing one another and slapping paddles on the water. A deputy heard “vulgar language” and arrested this guy because two children under the age of five were in the area and could hear the foul language. The deputy wrote a citation for violation of MCL 750.337.

So yes, it is socially unacceptable to swear loudly and be vulgar in the presence of children. I wonder how one would enforce such a law if the person swearing loudly in the presence of a child was a woman?