San Francisco’s Gaggle of Gay Naked Guys Going Going Gone! | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

November 21, 2012

San Francisco’s Gaggle of Gay Naked Guys Going Going Gone!

San Francisco Board of Supervisors pass nudity ban 11-20-2012
This is a screenshot of today’s San Francisco Chronicle. NOTE: I never saw this fella once on the corner of Castro and Market. Damn it.
Supes Bare-ly Pass Nudity Ban

By Roy Steele

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Supervisor Scott Wiener’s legislation by a vote of 6-5, banning arbitrary nudity in the city. Mayor Ed Lee has indicated that he will sign the measure.

Supervisors Wiener, David Chiu, Sean Elsbernd, Mark Farrell, Carmen Chu, and Malia Cohen voted in favor of the ban. Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Christina Olague, Jane Kim and Eric Mar voted against the ban. The law is scheduled to take effect February 1, 2013.

There are exemptions to the law. The law does not apply to private property, private beaches, or special events like Bay to Breakers of the Folsom Street Fair.

Neil J. Riley reports in the San Francisco Chronicle that the ban explicitly applies to exposing one’s genitals publicly.
Wiener, the sponsor of the proposal, admits he was reluctant to take the step of banning public nudity, but that the issue has evolved beyond the presence of a few naked guys in the Castro and is a growing problem that generates more complaints from his constituents than homelessness or Muni.

"It's no longer a quirky part of San Francisco, it's seven days a week," said Wiener, who represents the Castro. "Many people in the neighborhoods are over it and want to take action."

Yet some supervisors argued that since the nudity problem was primarily contained to the Castro, a citywide ban wasn't needed.

"I question whether this rises to the level that it should be a priority," said Campos, who worried about police resources being diverted from violent crime to naked men and women.

Olague and Avalos said they were concerned about the restriction of personal freedom.

"Sometimes there's a little weirdness about how we express ourselves, but that's a great thing about San Francisco," Avalos said.

But Wiener said the slippery slope argument shouldn't apply.

"I don't agree that having yellow hair is the same as exposing your penis at a busy street corner for hours and hours," he said.

However, the nudists aren't conceding defeat yet. While many in the pro-nudity camp stayed clothed during the vote, the clothes came off as soon as the measure passed.

About five men and women disrobed and were immediately escorted out of the chamber by San Francisco Sheriff's deputies, but no arrests were made.

As he pulled his pants up, a nudist named Stardust said the legislation sent the wrong message.

"It's telling people they should be ashamed to be naked, and that's totally wrong," he said.
There is a federal lawsuit pending related to the legislation.

According to Matthew S. Bajko of the Bay Area Reporter, the federal lawsuit claims that the ban infringes upon nudist’s freedom of expression. The complaint will be heard in federal court on January 17th, 2013.

Matthew writes:
As the B.A.R. noted last week in an online blog post, San Francisco-based lawyer Christina A. DiEdoardo filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of four nudists claiming the proposed law violates their freedom of expression and the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"The proposed legislation impermissibly restricts the free speech and association rights of plaintiffs and all similarly situated persons as it attempts to criminalize nudity even when engaged in for the purpose of political advocacy," states the lawsuit. "Furthermore, the proposed ordinance violates equal protection as it exempts certain types of speech – i.e. that taking place at city-sanctioned events – from enforcement."

The named plaintiffs include Mitch Hightower, a gay man who organizes a yearly nude-in at Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro; Oxane "Gypsy" Taub, a Berkeley resident who hosts her own nudity television show; George Davis, who ran for San Francisco mayor as a nude candidate; and Russell Mills, who oversees a pro-nudity website.
Even with the law in place, this controversial issue is far from over.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to walking in the Castro, and wearing my contact lenses again. My apologies to anyone who knows me and has waved hello - and not gotten a response from me. I probably couldn’t see you. I’m blind as a bat, and I’ve been walking through the neighborhood without any corrective lenses. Once the cast of Cocoon returns to their planet, I’ll be free to see again.

Thank you Supervisor (no relation to Anthony)  Wiener! My eyes thank you too!

straight talk in a queer world.        
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