Judge Could Lift Nudity Ban

A judge will weigh in on the constitutionality of clothes.

By Kim Tere and Chris Roberts
|  Friday, Jan 18, 2013  |  Updated 2:00 PM PDT
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Nov. 14, 2012: Demonstrators gather outside of City Hall in San Francisco for a protest against a city-wide nudity ban.

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A federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday decided to continue thinking about the constitutionality of  the city's nudity ban.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen had been asked to block the ordinance from going into effect on Feb. 1, but decided that he needed more time to consider the issue. He did not set a future court date to reconvene.

Fans of going about in the buff oppose the ordinance strongly, saying the ban is an attack on free speech because going naked is a "political statement."

There's also an equal protection rights argument, as the ordinance does exempt people under the age of 5 from punishment for going nude, and also allows people to go naked during the annual Pride parade and at Bay to Breakers.

Under Supervisor Scott Wiener's ordinance, first-time offenders carry a maximum $100 penalty, but a third offense could be punishable as a misdemeanor, with a $500 fine and a year in jail. Weiner introduced the legislation after receiving constituent complaints about the naked men who gather in a neighborhood plaza and sometimes walk the streets sans clothing.

The ordinance passed last month by a razor-thin margin after city leaders endured months of vocal and naked protests from ban opponents.

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