61°
Cloudy
SUN
 76°
 55°
MON
 78°
 53°
TUE
 79°
 57°
WED
 76°
 57°
THU
 73°
 54°

Judge considers San Francisco's public nudity ban

  • Natalie Mandeau, right, of France, holds up a sign during a demonstration against a nudity ban outside a federal building Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 in San Francisco. Activists are asking a federal judge to block a city ordinance banning public nudity. The ban is scheduled to go into effect Feb. 1. The local law has become a divisive political issue in a town that prides itself on its inhibitions. The demonstration took place before a court hearing on the ordinance. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge considering San Francisco's public nudity ban rejected arguments Thursday that simply disrobing in public was protected political speech akin to flag burning.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen made his comments during a 90-minute hearing held to consider the new law requiring the covering of "genitals, perineum, and anal region" that is set to go into effect on Feb. 1.

A narrowly divided Board of Supervisors passed the law last month after residents and visitors to the city's renowned Castro district complained about what they called unsightly and unsanitary nudity in a plaza in the heart of the gay neighborhood.

Public nudity activists filed a federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law, arguing the government-ordered cover-up violates their 1st Amendment rights to express their political views. Their supporters also complained the law contradicts the city's live-and-let-live reputation.

But U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen said Thursday it takes more than simply disrobing in public to make a political statement, as he rejected arguments that a public nudity ban was akin to outlawing the burning of the American flag.


© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View