Three more states legalize public nudity, Utah is the 49th to Free the Nipple after Tenth Circuit Court ruling

by jovan1984

Denver, Colo. — Utah, the most conservative and most Mormon state in the union, Oklahoma and New Mexico have beaten out four states when it comes to your Constitutional right to be naked in public. It is all thanks to a federal court ruling.

On Tuesday, September 17, the city of Fort Collins decided not to fight the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling striking down its ban on public nudity. By giving up the fight, that means it is now legal to go out naked in public in Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico, three of the seven states where public nudity was either banned or was ambiguous in state law.

Brit Hoagland, the winning plaintiff in the Fort Collins case, and many women who say it’s their right to wear or not wear a shirt, said it is a big deal and that sex discrimination has no place in laws.

“Addressing small parts of inequality can make a big difference in how people are treated on a day to day basis, and I thought free the nipple was just one small step closer to how it should be,” said Ms. Hoagland.

Ms. Hoagland, along with co-plaintiff Samantha Six, sued Fort Collins for the right to go topless in public. That resulted in a ruling striking down Fort Collins’s public nudity ban entirely.

Andy McNulty is the attorney for Ms. Hoagland and Ms. Six and he says the law is an attack on equal rights.

“Any law that says, ‘Women are prohibited from,’ is unconstitutional and really just intolerable in a society that should treat women as equal to men,” said Mr. McNulty.

“Everybody should be able to be comfortable on a hot day and if that means taking their shirt of so be it. No matter how you look, you should have the same freedom at the person next to you. And it’s also about equality,” said Ms. Hoagland.

“They had been advocating for a while, trying to get the Fort Collins City Council to get rid of a female topless ban in Fort Collins. They’d been unsuccessful, and they wanted to see if we would be willing to represent them in a legal challenge to that ordinance,” said Mr. McNulty.

The three judge panel ruled in favor of public nudity. Fort Collins then appealed to the full circuit court. The Tenth Circuit upheld the ruling and that ruling legalized public nudity in Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

The court order also legalizes public nudity once again in Topeka, Kan. That municipality had banned public nudity in late 2015.

“We made a huge impact way beyond Fort Collins, and we were just trying to start a conversation. And that conversation reached to so many more people. It’s a miraculous achievement I didn’t think I would see in my lifetime let alone so soon,” said Ms. Hoagland.

However, it is not all good news when it comes to your right to be naked in public.

At least two separate courts have ruled that cities can ban public nudity, including the Seventh Circuit Court in ruling in favor of Chicago’s public nudity ban.

The Fourth Circuit Court could also take up a challenge to the 2017 Ocean City, Md. ordinance outlawing public nudity.

The Supreme Court is being asked to take up a challenge by Free the Nipple to a public nudity ban that Laconia, N.H. has had for a long time. The state’s Supreme Court ruled that Laconia could outlaw public nudity.

Mr. McNulty says it’s an important issue about equality and how we look at women.

“The idea that women’s bodies are purely sexual is something that, it was perpetuated by this law. By getting rid of this law, we are saying women are more than just a sexual object and their bodies are more than just a sexual object. They’re human beings just like men,” he said.

“Our win can show that even in other places that, there’s still hope, and that things can change maybe from a different angle,” said Ms. Hoagland.

It is a battle well worth it. Until this ruling, three states in the Circuit had ambiguous laws around public nudity or had prohibited the practice. Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico are now the 44th, 45th, and 46th states respectively to legalize public nudity. Iowa, North Carolina and Missouri state laws are ambiguous on public nudity. Indiana is now all alone in banning public nudity and female toplessness.

Until everyone can be naked in public, we still are not free. We are not stopping until public nudity is legal everywhere.

WKBW-HD