San Francisco Approves Public Nudity Ban

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San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved a ban on public nudity on a 6-5 vote Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle report.

The measure will require a second vote by the supervisors and the signature of Mayor Edwin M. Lee to into effect. It could become law by Feb. 1, 2013.

The public nudity ban, which was proposed by Supervisor Scott Wiener, stirred up quite the debate before the vote, reports the Los Angeles Times. Wiener claimed support from the gay community, noting that many nudists congregate in the Castro District, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Wiener said his constituents wanted the laws already requiring clothing establishments such as restaurants and for using public seating enforced. Parades and festivals will be exempt.

Other supervisors dismissed the need for a public nudity ban. Christina Olague, who voted against the ordinance, called it a “solution in search of a problem,” reports Los Angeles Times.

According to The New York Times, several nearby California cities, including Berkeley and San Jose, also have banned public nudity. A nudist group, known as the Naked Guys, plan on fighting the ban, saying it infringes on their freedom of speech because their nudity is not in a lewd or sexual manner and, therefore, should be legal.

Several protesters in City Hall did strip down after the vote, but police quickly covered them up, reports The New York Times. 

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