City Wants Nudity Ban Upheld

The city of San Francisco just wants the naked people to go away.

“There is nothing objectionable about a city passing a general ordinance to ban public nudity (even though such a ban may place incidental burdens on some protected speech),” the city attorney said Thursday in documents citing a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision in an Erie, Pennsylvania case.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera has asked a federal judge to uphold the city’s ban on public nudity.  He has filed a motion to dismiss the free speech lawsuit by a group of people who claim the act of being totally nude in public is expressive speech protected by the first amendment.

In 2012, San Francisco passed an ordinance that prohibits public nudity unless certain exceptions apply, such as during parades, festivals and fairs, such as the Gay Pride Parade and Folsom Street Fair.

Oxane “Gypsy” Taub and George Davis challenged the ordinance contending they use nudity to express the belief the human body is beautiful and that it is appropriate to appear in public without clothes.

Taub lives in Berkeley where public nudity has been banned for 20 years.

Davis ran for city supervisor in San Francisco on a pro-nudity platform.

They argued the ordinance is too vague.

Being nude any place and any time in the city would subject a public potentially unwilling or unexpectedly exposed to the conduct and interferes with the rights of everyone to use and enjoy public spaces, according Herrera.

The suit has been dismissed once before by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, but he allowed the plaintiffs to revise the lawsuit and refile it.

This is the city’s second attempt to be done with nudists and the speech claims.

Herrera has cited a long line of cases dating back to the 1970s upholding municipal powers to regulate public nudity.

He has asked Chen to hold a hearing on the arguments September 11, 2014.

Case: Taub v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 12-5841EMC



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