A group of nudists are preemptively suing the City of San Francisco for what they state is their civil right to walk around the public streets naked.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a proposal that seeks to outlaw the exposure of an individual’s private parts in public. The nudists, comprised of both men and women, state that they wish to block the passage of the measure as it inhibits their “body freedom,” and have filed a federal lawsuit to ask the courts to intervene.
According to reports, during a hearing last week, one of the nudists, Gypsy Taub, stripped naked at the podium during the public comment period to protest the pending prohibition, calling the lawmakers “fascist.” She was promptly escorted out of the room by police, but was not arrested or cited for any crime.
On Wednesday, a number of other nudists gathered outside of the federal courthouse as their attorney, Christina DiEdoardo, submitted the lawsuit to the court, which requests an injunction against the statute.
“I’m trying to protect the rights of my clients to engage in protected political speech, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” she told KGO-TV.
“With regard to the wider issue of those who object to nude people in public, there’s an easy remedy which costs no public money, requires no court time and consumes no scarce jail space: look away,” DiEdoardo added in an online blog post about the matter.
The Board of Supervisors states, however, that they have received numerous complaints from people who have had enough of having to avert their eyes as they walk through Jane Warner Plaza. They state that nudity has become commonplace in recent years, but is still abhorred by most.
“Over the past two years, the situation on our streets, and particularly in the Castro, has changed,” the supervisors outlined at the meeting. “Public nudity is no longer random and sporadic, and it’s no longer an occasional quirky part of San Francisco.”
The Castro is known as “San Francisco’s gay melting pot.” Homosexuals, however, are said to be among those lodging complaints.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said that he agrees with the prohibition, and that the Constitution does not protect nudity.
“We’re talking much more than just first Amendment rights and people have gone overboard with their exhibitionism,” he told reporters with the San Francisco Gate. “On behalf of kids who shouldn’t really have to view this, and on behalf of parents that walk their kids to school, we’re going to create … balanced constrictions.”
The Board of Supervisors is believed to be unanimously in favor of the measure barring the nudists from exposing their private parts, which only affects public streets, parklets and public transit. The law will not apply to the city’s beaches, and will be waived during public festivals. If the federal court allows the vote to proceed next week, violators could face fines of up to $100 per infraction. Jail time can also result if the ordinance is repeatedly disregarded.
While the City is seeking to ban public nudity, as previously reported, the San Francisco Department of Health recently voted to use taxpayer funds for the sex-change operations of area residents who are uninsured. Surgeries can cost up to $70 thousand per person.