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Thursday, June 18, 2015

City Pays $20K in Nudist Legal Fees, Reminds You to Keep Your Clothes On

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 12:55 PM

click to enlarge KEN WALTON/FLICKR
  • Ken Walton/Flickr

A friendly reminder from the City Attorney’s office: You still can’t walk around naked in San Francisco.

The office issued a press release yesterday confirming that the city’s ban on public nudity is in full effect. The statement also confirmed that the city paid $20,000 to settle a portion of the legal fees associated with litigation pursued by nudists who argue the city violated their right to free speech and hasn’t enforced the nudity ban consistently.

The ban, approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2012, exempts certain permitted events such as Folsom Street Fair. Local nudist and “body freedom” activist Gypsy Taub (NSFW) has campaigned against the ban from the beginning (she stripped down at a Board of Supervisors meeting and got naked after her nuptials on the steps of City Hall.) Taub and other activists sued the city for violating their First Amendment rights.

Per the City Attorney’s statement yesterday, both parties reached a settlement that includes the city covering $20K of the plaintiffs’ legal fees:

We're confident that we would have prevailed at trial on the remaining factual dispute, but frankly the cost of doing so would have far exceeded the settlement amount...This was a prudent settlement that avoids needless expense to taxpayers, and cost-effectively resolves an evidence-intensive legal sideshow. We are aware that the plaintiffs intend to pursue their facial challenge to the law's constitutionality in the Ninth Circuit, and the City Attorney will continue to defend San Francisco's ordinance aggressively. Bans on public nudity have been longstanding features of municipal codes nationwide, and their constitutionality has been repeatedly affirmed by the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. 

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Jeremy Lybarger

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