Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 26, 2023

Gold fringe on the US flag means the Constitution is suspended? That’s a fringe theory

If Your Time is short

  • Gold fringe added to the American flag is merely decorative. It does not signify that the U.S. Constitution has been suspended.

A cryptic video claimed that gold fringe attached to the American flag signifies that citizens have lost the liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  

"So, anytime a flag has gold fringe on it, it mutilates the flag, right?" said the narrator, whose face is obscured, in a June 13 Instagram post. "And under Title 4 USC 3, carries a one-year prison sentence. The gold fringe, when placed on a Title 4 USC 3 flag, represents the color of law. … That means that if that flag is present, the Constitution is suspended, meaning that, whatever you think your constitutional rights are, are out of the door."

The video was shared a day before Flag Day, the annual commemoration of the adoption of the U.S. flag. 

The video included a clip from "King of the Hill," an animated TV series that aired from 1997 to 2010, in which a character talked about a gold-fringed flag. 

The Instagram post surfaced as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Featured Fact-check

4 USC, as in U.S. Code, is the federal law that sets forth guidelines for the appearance and display of the flag by civilians. 

Section 3 says mutilation of the flag is a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of up to $100, up to 30 days in jail, or both.

However, the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down flag desecration laws on free speech grounds, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Gold fringe was used on the American flag as early as 1835, was officially added for all regiments of the U.S. Army in 1895, and "it is considered that fringe is used as an honorable enrichment only," according to the American Legion. 

There is no evidence that gold fringe added to the flag signifies some sort of martial law. We rate the post False.

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

Gold fringe on the US flag means the Constitution is suspended? That’s a fringe theory

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up