A ban on nudity in San Francisco was given final approval by the city’s Board of Supervisors today in a raucous meeting in which several people stripped naked in board chambers and one person was arrested. The ordinance, authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener, prohibits nudity on city streets, sidewalks, plazas and other public spaces, with exceptions for permitted street fairs, parades and other events and for children under 5 years old. The legislation was given initial approval by a 6-5 vote at the board’s Nov. 20 meeting and was passed by the same vote this afternoon.
Supervisor Jane Kim initially gave the legislation a seventh vote of support today but later rescinded her vote, saying she was distracted and accidentally voted yes. John Avalos, David Campos, Eric Mar and Christina Olague were the other four supervisors to oppose the ban. Wiener thanked the rest of his colleagues for approving the ordinance, telling reporters it was “a very difficult decision” with “strong views on both sides.” Several men and women stripped down after the first vote this afternoon and began yelling at the supervisors. A total of four women and three men were led out of board chambers by sheriff’s deputies, who draped blankets over them since public nudity is not allowed at City Hall.
One female protester, whose name was not immediately available, was arrested on suspicion of interfering with lawful business and resisting arrest, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kathy Gorwood said. The other six protesters were released. The group of nudists was still holding a small rally outside City Hall late this afternoon. Once the ordinance is signed by Mayor Ed Lee, who has expressed support for it, the law will take effect on Feb. 1. However, four of the nudists have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the legislation on constitutional grounds in a case that is still pending in federal court. Wiener called it “a very weak lawsuit,” saying that courts have repeatedly upheld anti-nudity laws in other jurisdictions in California. Violators of the ordinance would face initial fines of $100 that would increase for additional offenses, but they would not have to register as sex offenders.
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