SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP / BCN) — San Francisco has shed its image as a city where anything goes, including clothing.
City lawmakers voted 6-5 Tuesday on an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in most public places. A first offense would carry a maximum penalty of a $100 fine, but prosecutors would have authority to charge a third violation as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and a year in jail.
The ban represents an escalation of a two-year fight between a devoted group of nudists in the city’s famously gay Castro District and the supervisor who represents the area.
Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposal makes it illegal for persons over the age of 5 to expose their genitals. Exemptions would be made for participants at permitted street fairs and parades.
“San Francisco is a place of freedom of expression and acceptance,” Wiener said.
However, he noted his constituents in the Castro District, which is part of his District 8, have reached a breaking point with the abundance of nudists, particularly at Jane Warner Plaza at Castro and Market streets.
KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:
“It’s very much a ‘Hey, look what I have’ mentality,” he said at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting. “I hoped it would run its course…It’s just more over the top.”
When the board took the issue to vote, supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim, Eric Mar and Christina Olague opposed the ban.
About four protesters seated in the board chambers immediately pulled off their clothing and bared all when the ordinance passed while others booed and yelled out “Down with Scott Wiener!”
Sheriff’s deputies with blankets escorted two naked men and two bare-breasted women out of board chambers after the vote.
The passage of the ordinance will be finalized at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 4.
The ordinance is scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1, 2013, or 30 days after Mayor Ed Lee signs the legislation.
Violators of the ban will not be required to register as sex offenders.
A federal lawsuit claiming the ban would violate the free speech rights of people who prefer to make a statement by going au naturel was filed last week in case the ordinance passes.
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