Update: By a vote of 6-5, San Francisco Supervisors voted in favor of banning nudity in most public places. At first it appeared the ruling was leaning in favor of the nudists but in the end it was determined that a ban was best for the neighborhood. Upon hearing the ruling, nudists yelled, “It’s not a legitimate government! and “You’re voting against the majority of the people, “Shame!” It remains to be seen how and if, the ruling will be challenged
San Francisco lawmakers will be voting Today on whether to ban nudity in most public places. It is the continuation of a long battle between Supervisor Scott Weiner and a group of nudists, who stroll through the area known as the Castro District, the famously gay area of San Francisco. Weiner represents that area of the city and claims he has been receiving complaints from his constituents. He has proposed making it illegal to, “expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region on any public street, sidewalk, street median, park or plaza or while using public transit.” The legislation would exempt street fairs and parades. Just last year, Weiner convinced legislators to make it mandatory for nudists to put down cloth on seats between naked backsides and seating in restaurants and other public areas. There has been outrage and push back from nudists claiming legislation banning nudity would be a violation of their rights. A lawsuit has been filed by San Francisco Attorney Christina DiEdoardo who claims, “the ban infringes on the free speech rights of nudists”. Gypsy Taub, a former stripper and mother of three, is a plaintiff in the case. At a public hearing, she stripped down to her birthday suit and was led away by security. The question that must be asked is, do the rights of nudists supersede the rights of those who are offended by them, some of whom are apparently acting in a lewd fashion? Basic human rights are protected by the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, known as “the Bill of Rights”. They protect freedom of speech, press and expression but they are not absolute. A person can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater because it creates a potentially hazardous situation. Requiring citizens to dress in a so-called, appropriate fashion, is not an infringement on anyone’s rights. There are nudists colonies and beaches that allow for such expression. If it wasn’t for the fact this dispute involved the Castro District, it wouldn’t be making headlines. Same sex marriage and other important gay issues shouldn’t be trivialized by something as silly as the right to public nudity and should not be equated. And further more, not every issue involves discrimination. Sometimes we must rely on common sense and decency. Yes, opinions of decency vary greatly but most people would find it distasteful to sit next to a nude stranger in a restaurant. It’s not a clothed or dressed, gay or straight issue, it’s an issue of hygiene. Can’t we even agree on clothes, in public spaces, being the better option for human beings?