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San Francisco Nudity Ban Approved, SF Nudists Strip Down in City Hall in Protest [VIDEO]

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Nov 21, 2012 11:16 AM EST

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Nudists in San Francisco are not happy as the SF nudity ban was approved in the city. As a protest to the approved ban, several nudists stripped down in the court room.

In a 6-5 vote, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved a measure that would place strict limits on nudity in public places. Protestors who have fought hard to keep their right to get naked started to strip down inside City Hall upon hearing the decision. 

According to the measure, exposing rear ends or genitals will be banned in most public places, including streets, sidewalks and public transportation. However, those who like to strip down at popular San Francisco events will still be able to do so. Nudity is still permitted at streets fairs and parades, such as the annual gay pride parade and the Bay-to-Breakers street run. Women can also still go topless.

The measure was first introduced by Supervisor Scott Weiner who received several complaints from residents and shop owners who were sick of the daily nudity displays in the mostly gay Castro District. While public nudity was allowed, it got to be a bit overwhelming.

"It's no longer an occasionally and quirky part of San Francisco. Rather, in the Castro, it's pretty much seven days a week," Wiener said, according to the Daily News. "It's very much a, 'Hey, look what I have' mentality."

Some tried to argue that banning nudity violates freedom of expression, but Weiner argued differently.

"We're a city that believes in freedom, and we've always believed in freedom and free expression," Wiener told CNN affiliate KGO. "But taking your pants off at Castro and Market and displaying your genitals to everyone, that's not free expression."

But some nudists have filed a lawsuit claiming the ban violates their First Amendment rights.

"Is the First Amendment more powerful and more important than the passions of an intolerant mob and the ambitions of one or more city supervisors? We would contend that it is, and that's what our case is based upon," the nudists' attorney, Christina DiEdoardo, told KGO.

The measure still has to go through a final vote and a federal judge will decide in January whether the Feb. 1 implementation should be halted.  Mayor Edwin Lee must then sign the law for it to go into effect.When the law does go into effect, those continuing to display their rear ends and genitals in public could face fines of $100 to $500, depending of id they have prior offenses. Someone who violated the law three times in one year could spend a year in jail.

Nudists have already filed a lawsuit to block the ban, saying that it violates their First Amendment right.

"Is the First Amendment more powerful and more important than the passions of an intolerant mob and the ambitions of one or more city supervisors? We would contend that it is, and that's what our case is based upon," the nudists' attorney, Christina DiEdoardo, told KGO.

However plaintiffs may have a hard time arguing that one as the  U.S. Supreme Court has held that public nudity bans don't necessarily violate the constitutional right to free speech. 

 

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