LETTER: Grafton Town Board deplores, but can’t remove, obscene sign

To Ozaukee Press:

The Grafton Town Board has become aware of private signage displaying a profane message regarding President Biden located within the township and wishes to address such profane speech generally.

To be clear, the Town Board does not agree with the manner in which the political viewpoint has been expressed, and following the receipt of numerous complaints about the profane language, town officials requested that the sign be removed or the offensive words be covered. 

Unfortunately, the sign’s owner declined to do either, which has prompted this communication. The First Amendment protects the public expression of ideas, which includes profane content. Under well-settled law, it is clear that government may not impose special or selective prohibitions on such protected speech merely because the ideas may be offensive to some recipients. In fact, restrictions on speech based upon the content of that speech are presumptively unconstitutional; and recent efforts by local governments to enforce content-based restrictions have been unsuccessful and costly.

The Town of Grafton supports freedom of speech, but does not condone the use of profanity to express disfavor. Recalling our nation’s rich history of passionate advocacy, it is during the more heightened times in particular that perhaps it is also important to remember who we are as Americans and neighbors—a people who can disagree respectfully with one another without resorting to the use of expletives.

Lester Bartel
Town of Grafton


Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login