A South Carolina town has banned saggy pants, and criminals who violate the ordinance can face fines ranging from $100 on up to $600, USA Today is reporting.
The people of Timmonsville, South Carolina (population: 2,300) have had it up to here with young men walking around showing their sagging pants drooping halfway to their butts, their boxer shorts proudly displayed, and they’ve taken legal action. By a 5-1 vote Tuesday night, the town’s council officially made the wearing of saggy pants illegal.
— WLOS (@WLOS_13) July 6, 2016
Violators will be given a warning for their first offense; for the second offense, “saggers” will be placed on a registry of repeat offenders. For the third offense, violators will be fined $100, and repeat offenses will bring fines of up to $600.
Timmonsville resident April McKee Biddle said on the town’s Facebook page that the saggy pants ban is long overdue.
“It’s about time that someone does something. It is indecent. My 8-year-olds have pointed out to me men with their belt buckles right over their privates. That, in my eyes, is very near exposure.”
Timmonsville isn’t the first town to make wearing saggy pants a criminal offense; in fact, it’s been happening quite often lately.
In September, 2015, the town of Dadeville, Alabama, banned saggy pants, according to a Huffington Post report from the time. City Council member Frank Goodman said that God led him to enact the ban.
“I prayed about this. I know that God would not go around with pants down… It is not in His orders to do that to gain eternal life.”
Leaving The Almighty out of the equation, the town Opa-Locka, Florida, banned saggy pants in 2007, according to Huffington Post. Commissioner Timothy Holmes said it was a matter of teaching young people respect.
“We passed this law … to try to teach the kids to be a better person … to be more respectable and have a decent life when they get much older.”
Similar saggy pants bans have been enacted, or at the very least, discussed, in Wildwood, New Jersey; Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana; and Chicago, Illinois.
Unfortunately for supporters of such bans, they don’t always last. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has traditionally been pretty quick to fight those bans in court. The group has fought bans in Hinds County, Mississippi, and other places, insisting that such bans violate the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech.
“Government policy-makers have no right to dictate or influence style, nor do they have the right to protect themselves and the greater public from seeing clothing they dislike. In fact, clothing is a form of expression protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
On those occasions when a saggy pants ban has made it to court, the courts have generally sided with the ACLU and ruled such bans unconstitutional.
So why do young people like to wear saggy pants? The answer to that question depends largely on whom you ask, but according to a September, 2014, NPR News report, the style may have originated in prison. The story goes that prison-issue clothes are notoriously unfitting, and since belts aren’t available in prison, prisoners simply got used to wearing pants that sagged past their butts. Another version of this story holds that, in prison, a prisoner wearing sagging pants indicates to other prisoners that he is sexually available.
Of course, as the NPR News report notes, those are just rumors, and the true origin of the saggy pants trend remains unclear.
Do you believe the town of Timmonsville, South Carolina, was in the right to ban saggy pants and punish offenders with fines?
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]