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Judge Considers San Francisco’s Public Nudity Ban

by Paul Elias
Thursday Jan 17, 2013

A federal judge is set to consider San Francisco's new law that bans public nudity.

Public nudity activists are requesting that U.S. District Judge Edward Chen on Thursday block the law from going into effect on Feb. 1 while he considers their lawsuit seeking to invalidate the ordinance.

The activists argue that ban violates their 1st Amendment freedom of speech because their nudity is a political statement.

They also argue the law violates equal protection rights because it exempts children younger than five and public nudity at certain events such as an annual street fair, the city's Gay Pride Parade and it Bay-to-Breakers foot race, which is noted for the wacky costumes - or lack thereof - of participants.

Attorneys representing the city counter that the ban is a matter of public health, safety and the "general welfare" of all residents.

The Board of Supervisors authorized the ban on a 6-5 vote last month after enduring several vocal and naked protests from nudists and their supporters. They argued that the citywide ban is unnecessary and would draw police officers' attention away from bigger problems while undermining San Francisco values like tolerance and appreciation for the offbeat.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco's largely gay Castro District, introduced the legislation after receiving constituent complaints about the naked men who gather in a small neighborhood plaza most days and sometimes walk the streets naked.

The ban requires clothing below the waist of all appearing in public.

If the ban becomes law, a first offense carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine, but prosecutors would have authority to charge a third violation as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and a year in jail.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  • BlondieSL, 2013-01-17 11:06:01

    LOL!!! Ok, too easy, but what the hell. >-;)Their 1st amendment right to"Freedom of speech? "I think that only applies if they are talking out their ass! .. LOLSorry, but I just couldn’t resist. And I tried.... I swear. :)

  • , 2013-01-17 11:51:57

    Don’t understand why the clothing of people is such a big deal. You have naked people in advertisements all over the world, why should it be illegal to see them outside your TV? But I don’t live in the USA, maybe that’s why I don’t really get it.

  • , 2013-01-17 12:40:49

    Its not a big deal in India either. There’s a religious group that roam the country without clothing on. I think people would not have an issue with it if the nudists were fit and hunky. Its a discrimination against body types.

  • , 2013-01-17 15:04:28

    No one should be subjected to seeing this. You want to be naked? Then do so at home. I don’t want my mother, grandmother, nieces and nephews to see it! Political statement my ass!

  • Bomonghani, 2013-01-17 18:19:55

    That’s because the US has long been back-ass-words when it comes to nudity, creating a taboo of it.

  • fleebness, 2013-01-17 23:26:18

    We Americans need to get over our lascivious concern for public nudity. It has the opposite effect of addressing most of their uptight concerns. More public nudity would demystify sexuality, and maybe help make us more mentally healthy.

  • Caleb Burgess, 2013-01-18 19:37:23

    Were born into this world naked an some people leave this world naked... it shouldnt be a problem for people to continue your mid life in the way it began... get over it everyone has there way of life

  • puck, 2013-01-19 20:28:15

    I have been to many clothing optional events and places. After the first hour I was done staring and had a good time. Once you see a few hahas and some jinglies they start looking like the wrinkled one you stare at in the mirror. Now I don’t want to be eating and a tall man or saggy boob, man or woman to hover over me dropping bits on my plate. If you tell people you can’t do that they will do it!

  • , 2013-01-20 00:07:48

    San Francisco is the idiot Capitol of the US.

  • , 2013-01-22 12:35:24

    Dress properly and shoot someone. Primary concerns in civil America these days it appears.

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