Fined – for Kissing in Public!

Photo by Jenn Durfrey (

Even into the 20th century, some states in the USA had laws making it illegal for couples to kiss in public places. In the early 20th century, one prominent Bostonian was arrested and fined for kissing his wife whilst walking in the street, whilst another story tells of a Sea Captain returning from a long voyage greeting his wife on the port quayside and getting carried away in the moment kissing her only to be fined for doing so. A number of stories then began to circulate that there were plans to extend these laws across all the states and a campaign was launched to oppose these changes (although whether these plans actually existed or where an invention of the newspapers is a question to be asked?).

The US was not alone in this, the city of Milan also forbade public kissing with a fine equivalent to 12 shillings (approx £40 in today’s terms).

This led one English Newspaper columnist (17th December 1902)  to comment that if such a law was implemented in the UK we could do away with the need for income tax to finance the country!



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