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San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener plans to tell nudists to butt out of public plazas and other spots through legislation he is introducing at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The ordinance would prohibit the display of one’s genitals and buttocks in plazas and parklets in the city, as well as on sidewalks, streets and public transit. Nudity would still be allowed during street fairs and parades. Wiener said in a statement that the legislation was spurred by “the over-the-top situation” in Jane Warner Plaza and other areas in the Castro District where nudists often congregate. “While most people in San Francisco, myself included, have no problem with occasional public nudity, we’ve seen a shift in public attitude,” he said. “The current situation alienates both residents and visitors. We are a tolerant neighborhood and city, but there are limits.”
Wiener said he wanted to wait and see if the situation would resolve itself without a new law, but said “many in the community have reached the end of their rope.” The legislation has the support of Cleve Jones, a longtime LGBT advocate and Castro resident, who said in a statement that “the middle of one of the busiest intersections in San Francisco is not the appropriate location for a nude beach.” Under the ordinance, violations would cost $100 for the first offense and $200 for the second, with rising penalties for each additional offense within a year. Violators would not be required to register as a sex offender. “The goal here isn’t to punish people, but rather to get them to put their clothes on,” Wiener said.
The legislation is the second that Wiener has proposed to address public nudity in San Francisco. Last year, the board approved banning nudity in restaurants and outlawing sitting on benches or other public seating without first placing clothing or other material atop the seat first. State law only bans “lewd” behavior, which courts have interpreted to exclude simple nudity, but other Bay Area cities such as Berkeley and San Jose have already enacted local nudity bans, according to Wiener’s office.
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