In less than two weeks the San Francisco law banning public nudity-unless for specific purposes or events-takes effect on February 1st.
While many who back the law, District Eight Supe Scott Wiener for example who authored the new City code, hail this as a step in the right direction for the community others find San Francisco’s turn toward puritanical modesty a sad state of affairs for a town viewed by most as the beacon of liberal thinking and actions in America.
The ‘Nude Issue’ has continued to be fodder of national and international story lines. Story lines pop with titillation as pundits, journalists and late night talk show hosts bandied about the furor SF’s nude cause celebre has had, it’s heated ‘for’ or ‘against’ public debates, protests and finally the subsequent law it’s produced.
Covering up this story seems hard to do. The SF, LGBT newspaper of note, Bay Area Reporter, who published a strong editorial supporting Mr. Wiener’s plan for a ban revisited the issue posting an informal, Facebook, poll on Thursday asking what readers thought. The results: 4 to 1 in favor of nudity and having citizen’s let it all hang out.
Federal Judge Edward Chen is expected to rule soon on a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the City’s nudity ban. Chen could pick up the pace on things because if he dismisses the motion, there may be an appeal, and then this issue could drag on in the courts costing the taxpayers of the City big bucks defending the new law.
The basis for the suit brought by four nude activists and presented by their talented legal rep, Christina DiEdoardo, a criminal defense attorney, is that their first amendment rights will be violated if the ban stands.
The crux of that suit being the law inhibits people’s right to be ‘expressive’. Where the rub in the argument stands is the Supreme Court has already denied that as relative in an earlier case. If nudist were marching in a political context that’s being ‘expressive’.
Sitting with their junk in the sun at the Castro’s Jane Warner Plaza ‘expressive’? A stretch of the legal interpretation of the law that as yet no legal precedents supports.
The Castro Biscuit took a stand in our own editorial supporting the right of San Franciscan’s to be naked which has been widely shared and read. We still believe its the right course for our community to allow public nudity as long as it’s not lewd.
However, based on the law and it’s parameters, we believe the new nudity ban law will be allowed to move forward.
Here’s hoping for a few unseasonably warm days so those who wish to can work on their uninterrupted tan lines one more time without being hit with a ticket or jail time.