Protesters disrobed in front of San Francisco city hall in protest last week
San Francisco lawmakers are set to vote on whether to ban nudity in public places, in an escalating fight against a group of nudists.
(from BBC News)
The proposal would make it illegal for anyone over five to “expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region” in most public locations.
Exceptions would be made for certain street fairs and events.
A federal lawsuit has already been filed arguing the proposal infringes on free speech rights.
The ordinance plan follows complaints about a growing number of naked men who have been gathering in a public plaza in the city’s Castro district, a hub for the gay community.
Earlier, the city passed a law requiring a piece of cloth between a nude resident and a public seating place, but after that proposal was passed, the number of nude men who flocked to the plaza increased.
“I don’t think having some guys taking their clothes off and hanging out seven days a week at Castro and Market Street is really what San Francisco is about,” district supervisor Scott Wiener said. “I think it’s a caricature of what San Francisco is about.”
A first offence would carry a maximum $100 (£62) fine, but prosecutors could also penalise offenders up to $500 and hand down a year in jail.
Last week, about two dozen people undressed in front of San Francisco city hall in protest at the proposed ban.
One demonstrator, McCray Winpsett, 37, told the Associated Press the ordinance went too far in undermining a tradition “that keeps San Francisco weird”.