In San Francisco, you're free to enjoy some medicinal marijuana while lounging about a public space in the nude, but a new law might require nudists to put a barrier between themselves and public property. Citing health concerns, lawmakers in the city have introduced an ordinance that would put limits on public nudity, such as covering a seat before you place your bare behind on it.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the ordinace, tells the L.A. Times:
"If you're going to be naked in public, and you're going to sit down on public seating, you should cover the seating up ... We shouldn't have to legislate about that, but we do.… It's about basic public health."
The measure would also require diners in restaurants to don clothing, closing the pants loophole in many eateries' "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policies.
The crackdown was prompted by an increasing number of complaints about nudists who roam the Castro, the area Wiener represents. Parents who live in the famously liberal neighborhood have been complaining about roving bands of urban nudists spotted throughout the area. However, officials say there's no law against being nude. Lewd conduct is still a crime, but if you just want to relax in the park while while a cool breeze blows through your nether regions, that' perfectly legal.
However, some say the law is overkill. George Davis, a nudist who's campaigned unsuccessfully for several city offices, says he usually puts something between himself and his chair to be polite, but public health concerns are exaggerated. "Basically, if someone has a cold, it's a greater health threat than the situation of sharing a seat," says Davis. "It seems like an excessive clarification, but, whatever." One could argue that depending on your public bathroom habits, you may already be sitting where other butts have gone before. Perhaps sharing a seat with a bare-bottomed stranger isn't all that dangerous, but it seems Davis missed a vital elementary school lesson on the science of cooties.
Public Nudity Pushes Boundaries In San Francisco [L.A. Times]
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