Video: Activists strip naked after San Francisco bans public nudity

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Bare bottoms got the boot in San Francisco Tuesday night as city officials passed legislation banning public nudity. 

The San Francisco board of supervisors voted to approve a ban on public nudity sponsored by supervisor Scott Wiener, but it wasn’t a slam dunk.

“But we do live in a time of limited resources,” board member David Campos said. “And when it comes to what is the best and most effective way to using those limited resources, not that enforcing nudity laws is not important, but on the scale of how important it is relative to violent crime, I think that the focus should be violent crime.”

“When we start to surrender some of these basic rights um citywide uh what’s next?” fellow board member Christina Olague added. “A lot of people think that’s cliché’ but I do as that question. What piercing or tattooing or yellow hair? Or what?” 

Still, Wiener stood by his decision to propose the legislation and the decision of the board.

“We’re a city that believes in freedom and we’ve always believed in freedom and free expression,” Wiener said. “But taking your pants off at Castro and Market and displaying your genitals to everyone that is not free expression.”

When his measured passed, pandemonium broke out in city hall. It’s already against the law to get naked in chambers, but one after the other, several people stripped down to protest.

“I would not have gotten naked at City Hall if they hadn’t tried to ban nudity, which is a wonderful form of free expression,” one protester said.

Those protesters have already filed a lawsuit charging the ban violates their First Amendment rights.

“Is the First Amendment more powerful and more important than the passions of an intolerant mob and the ambitions of one or more city supervisors?” nudist attorney Christina Diedoardo said. “We would contend that it is and that’s what our case is based upon.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee doesn’t necessarily think the case is a strong one.

“For exhibitionists I think that’s what the word is expressed that way, that’s different from I think people’s First Amendment rights,” he said.

People can still get naked at the Folsom Street Fair, at Bay to Breakers, and other permitted events. But, barring a court ruling, beginning February 1, they cannot get naked in public places. 

Violators will face fines starting at $100.