Activists Not Done Fighting San Francisco Nudity Ban

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – After a federal judge agreed on Thursday with the City of San Francisco that public nudity is not protected political speech, nudity activists said the city’s public nudity law should still be thrown out due its inconsistencies.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen made his comments during a hearing held to consider San Francisco’s new law that requires the covering of “genitals, perineum, and anal region” that is set to go into effect on Feb. 1.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Attorney Christina DiEduardo, who filed the federal lawsuit against the city, said the ban is overly broad, poorly written and hypocritical since it allows public nudity at certain permitted events such as the Folsom Street Fair and the Pride Parade. The reasoning is that some people exposed to nudity in other places might be offended.

“Our first amendment doesn’t protect popular speech. Protected speech often gets people annoyed. You have no right in American to avoid being annoyed,” she said.

“There’s an easy solution. You don’t want to look at naked people? Turn around.”

But Deputy City Attorney Tara Steeley said the law takes a very carefully crafted middle ground. The special events where there is nudity tend to be well publicized, she said

Anyone who has been in San Francisco for any amount of time know to expect nudity at certain events,” she said.

“The Board really tailored this ordinance to protect the public but also leave avenues open for San Francisco residents to engage in occasional nudity.”

The city wants the judge to toss out the lawsuit, but activists are requesting Chen to block the ban from going into effect until the legal action is resolved.

The judge said Thursday that he would issue a written ruling on the competing requests later this month.

DiEduardo said that if the judge does not block the implementation of the ordinance, her clients would then likely appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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