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In the United Statesstates have primary jurisdiction in matters of public morality.

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The topfreedom movement has claimed success in a few instances in persuading some state and federal courts to overturn some state laws on the basis of sex discrimination or equal protectionarguing that a woman should be free to expose her chest i. Other successful cases have been on the basis of freedom of expression in protest, or simply that exposure of breasts is not indecent or similar terminology. Laws and ordinances barring female toplessness are being challenged in federal courts around the nation.

Each lawsuit, if it prevails at the appellate level, will legalize topfreedom in the following U. A federal lawsuit in the 7th Circuit Illinoiswas lost at the appellate level and the petition for review by the U. Supreme Court was denied.

A preliminary injunction in a federal lawsuit in the 10th Circuit Coloradowas won at the appellate level. That effectively gave females of all ages the right to go topless wherever males can in the jurisdiction of the 10th Circuit Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma states as well as all counties and cities therein. State law allows public nudity that is neither lewd nor offensive. San Francisco allows public female toplessness, although public nudity is banned as of February In Berkeley it is a misdemeanor or infraction for a woman to expose "any portion of the breast at or below the areola".

Oakland 's dress law says that women cannot wear "any type of clothing so that any portion of such part of the breast may be observed". San Jose bars anything "less than completely and opaquely covered" female breasts. In Los AngelesUCSD graduate student Anni Ma, [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] a "Free the Nipple" protester, was arrested for indecent exposure at a Bernie Sanders rally on March 23,when she removed masking tape covering her nipples.

She has filed a federal lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department. Her attorney claims she was never "nude" and that California's indecent exposure law applies only to genitals, not breasts. She is also suing for constitutional violations, gender discrimination and violations of federal civil rights laws. The Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, inwas home to a naturist resort that scandalized the Women in San Diego nude, attracted cameras and spurred LA to ban nudity. Venice Neighborhood Council, inmoved to make the area exempt from the city's ban on topless sunbathing.

On February 22,U. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson granted a preliminary injunction against a Fort Collins ordinance banning female toplessness saying it likely violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment due to gender-based discrimination. The judge wrote: the naked female breast is seen as disorderly or dangerous because society, from Renaissance paintings to Victoria's Secret commercials, has conflated female breasts with genitalia and stereotyped them as such.

The irony is that by forcing women to cover up their bodies, society has made naked women's breasts something to see. Denver and Boulder do not distinguish between male and female toplessness.

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A Florida statute about indecent exposure prohibits the vulgar or indecent exposure of sexual organs but does not specify if female breasts are included as sexual organs. The right to breastfeed in public is expressly protected, [28] and one Florida court inferred that this exception indicates that female breasts are sexual organs [29] and the Supreme Court of Florida held that a separate statute about disorderly conduct can be used to prosecute female toplessness.

The right of a woman to protest topless has been held to be a freedom of expression and not an equal protection issue. Nothing in Idaho state law prohibits female topfreedom. Specifically, the Idaho statute regarding indecent exposure, I. Absent a local ordinace, then, female topfreedom is legal in Idaho.

Confusingly, the state statute expressly provides that breastfeeding and pumping do not constitute indecedent exposure. This provision is apparently superfluous since there is nothing to suggest the statute addresses exposure of the female breast. The provision was presumably added to make it especially clear that breastfeeding and pumping are not criminal offenses. This safe harbor should not be read, however, to suggest that topfreedom otherwise is prohibited as indecent.

Although state law does not prohibit women from being topfree, certain municipalities within the state do prohibit it. For example, chapter 6 of title 5 of the Boise City Code presently criminalizes exposure of the female nipple outside of the context of breastfeeding. Such exposure is a misdemeanor. Twin Falls and Moscow also criminalize female topfreedom. Many Idaho municipalities, however, do not prohibit female topfreedom in non-commercial contexts.

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According to news reports, several women went went topfree, apparently without incident, at a Coeur d'Alene beach over the Memorial Day holiday in The appeal was heard by a three-judge panel on November 1, As of Septembertopfreedom is legal throughout the state due to a win in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

On May 20,Captain Butch Arbin, head of the Ocean City Beach Patrol instructed workers to document complaints of toplessness, but not approach topless women, even if the complainants requested it. Arbin changed the beach patrol's policy since the Maryland Attorney General has not released an opinion about female public toplessness in response to a formal request last year by a female resident and a topfree advocate who uses the pseudonym "Chelsea Covington.

On January 16,Chelsea C. Eline, and four other women filed a federal lawsuit against Ocean City seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. District Judge James K. Bredar denied the preliminary injunction request. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which reviews appeals from Maryland. The Supreme Court, he noted, has also maintained that physical differences between men and women — as opposed to stereotypes about men and women — can provide a valid basis for laws that treat men and women differently.

Such amorphous concepts are vulnerable to prejudice and stereotypes grounded more in fear than in reality.

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In December50 residents of Pittsfield, Massachusetts petitioned the City Council requesting a segregated beach for topless sunbathing by both men and women. The petition was rejected by the council, with the Mayor calling it "unacceptable and unnecessary". Proponents of topless sunbathing vowed to continue their fight. Inthe city of East Lansing, Michigan amended its disorderly conduct laws to remove a clause specifically prohibiting women from exposing their breasts. It is legal for anyone in Minnesota to be topless. However, the law is ambiguous because lewd exposure is considered illegal.

On January 22,the court granted a preliminary injunction barring the enforcement of the ordinance. The City of Lincoln has an ordinance prohibiting women from being topless. In Februarya judge dismissed [61] a case against two female "Free the Nipple" activists, Heidi Lilley and Barbara MacKinnon, who were cited for being topless at Gilford beach. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for women to show their breasts or nipples in public with "reckless disregard" for whether it would offend someone.

Supreme Court, [77] but their appeal was denied. She appealed the conviction to the state appeals court, and the two-judge panel—one man, one woman—ruled against her. Arlene Vogt as precedent. In the five years since Phoenix Feeley was found guilty and fined, she appealed the case to the New Jersey state appellate court, who ruled against her. The New Jersey Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal. Women in San Diego nude Taft, a Manhattan attorney, offered to pay her fine but Feeley refused, desiring to make a point.

She went on a hunger strike. The GoTopless group organized a protest outside the jail where Feeley was held, [81] but only two individuals attended. Taft commented, "The point is, there are guys with larger breasts than women, and sometimes they take their top off. Inseven women who picnicked topless were charged in Rochester, New York with baring "that portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola". The women were initially convicted, but on appeal two of the women's charges were reversed by the New York State Court of Appeals in on equal protection grounds in Santorelli's case.

She sued the city for violating a New York State Supreme Court ruling in Santorelli's case which had declared that women can go topless in public. Although participation has been very small, there has been no harassment of the participants either by the police or the public.

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The Topless New York series, created by an anonymous New York City photographer inis another effort to raise awareness of women's topless rights in New York State, and normalize the exercise of those rights, by publishing photographs of women topless in public all over New York City and other areas of New York State.

Holly Van Voasta Bronx photographer and performance artist, was detained, arrested or issued summonses 10 times during and Among other places, she went topless on the Staten Island Ferry[92] at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminalin front of an elementary school, on a train, and outside a Hooters restaurant. On October 11,she appeared in the Midtown Community Court and promptly removed her top, baring her breasts, in front of the judge.

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Van Voast filed a federal lawsuit on May 15 against the city and the police department. In Februarythe New York City Police Department issued a command to all its officers through their daily roll call. It reminded officers that they are not to cite or arrest a woman for public lewdness, indecent exposure or any other section of the Penal Law for "simply exposing their breasts in public.

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