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Judge Tosses Challenge To San Francisco Nudity Ban

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Protesters expose themselves at San Francisco's City Hall (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters expose themselves at San Francisco’s City Hall (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A Federal Court judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the San Francisco ordinance banning public nudity.

U. S. District Court Judge Edward Chen said nudists’s claims that the law violates free speech rights lacked merit.

“In spite of what plaintiffs argue, nudity in and of itself is not inherently expressive,” Chen said in his ruling. Unlike flag burning or wearing a black armband in protest of war, “public nudity in and of itself is not commonly associated with expression of a particular message,” he said.

The suit was filed by a group of activists who sued to block the city law, set to take effect Feb. 1, which prohibits nudity in public streets, plazas and public transportation. The law was introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the city’s Castro neighborhood, where nude men have gathered in a plaza at a busy Market Street intersection.

The ordinance, voted on in November, doesn’t apply to the city’s Gay Pride Parade, the Folsom Street Fair, and the 101-year-old Bay-To-Breakers race.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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