S.F. Nudity Ban Divides Lawmakers

(Image Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

Mitch Hightower may now be required to put on a pair of pants before he leaves his home, something he and his fellow nudist activists, along with some lawmakers, are not happy about.

The ban was proposed because of an increasing number of complaints about a group of nudists seen almost daily in the city's historically gay Castro District, the Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, in a six-five vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that banned public nudity. Last week, Hightower and two other nude enthusiasts had already filed a federal lawsuit challenging the proposed ban.

One more vote (all city legislation is put to two votes in San Francisco) will finalize the ban on Dec. 4, and barring any court challenges, Hightower and his friends will have to cover up their bottom halves before going out in public or face fines.

"I was very impressed today by the supervisors that did not support the nudity ban," Hightower wrote on his Facebook page after the close vote. "They asked many of the same questions we've all been asking. Such as 'Why wasn't there any effort to find a community solution short of citywide legislation?' 'Is a problem at one street corner really the most important way to spend our time?'"

Supervisor Christina Olague voted against the ban.

"When we start to surrender some of these basic rights citywide, what's next?" Olague said, as reported by ABC- owned station KGO. "A lot of people think that that's cliché, but I do ask that question. Piercing? Tattooing? Or yellow hair? What?"

After the vote, disappointed protesters disrobed in City Hall, which is illegal. Once enacted, the ordinance would make it illegal for anyone over the age of 5 to expose his or her genitals in public. Exemptions will be made for parades and festivals held under a city permit.

First-time offenders will face fines of $100. The fine increases to $200 if it's the second offense within 12 months. Third-time offenders could be slapped with a $500 fine and potentially charged with a misdemeanor.

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