Public nudity ban eyed in fed-up San Francisco

Associated Press Modified: November 19, 2012 at 3:18 am •  Published: November 19, 2012
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"A few lewd exhibitionists are really ruining it for the rest of us," he said. "It's my time to come out now to present myself in a light and show what true nudity is all about so people can separate the difference between what a nudist is and an exhibitionist is."

Because clothes are required to enter City Hall itself, demonstrators who try to disrobe at the Board of Supervisors meeting will be escorted out by sheriff's deputies. That is what happened last Monday when Gypsy Taub removed her dress at a committee hearing where the ban had its first public hearing. Taub, a mother of two, said she got her start as a nudist while hosting a local cable program devoted to the theory that the government was behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"I thought if I take my clothes off, I bet they are going to listen," she said.

San Francisco lawyer Christina DiEdoardo filed a federal lawsuit last week on behalf of Taub and three men that seeks to block Weiner's ordinance, if it passes and is signed by Mayor Edwin Lee. The complaint alleges that the ban infringes on the free speech rights of nudists and discriminates against those who cannot afford to obtain a city permit.

While it may seem strange that going out in the buff is not already illegal in San Francisco, most California cities do not have local nudity laws, Wiener said. Instead, they are adequately covered by state indecent exposure laws and societal mores. But indecent exposure technically only applies to lewd behavior, so city officials have had to craft a local solution, he said, adding that the cities of Berkeley and San Jose already have done so.

"I suspect there are a lot of places that maybe don't currently have a local law (and) that if people started getting naked every day would quickly see a local law," Wiener said.