Women seek high court’s approval to go topless in public
In a case that pits freedom of expression and equality against public decency, three women are challenging a New Hampshire city ordinance prohibiting public nudity and taking it to the state’s highest court.
Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro were ticketed in 2016 in Laconia after they went topless at Weirs Beach over Memorial Day weekend. Pierro was doing yoga, while the other two were sunbathing.
Some beachgoers complained and a police officer asked them to cover up. When they refused, they were arrested.
The women want to the court to dismiss their conviction by invalidating the city’s ordinance.
The three women argue there’s no state law forbidding female topless and that the ordinance is discriminatory since men are allowed to go shirtless.
They also contend their constitutional rights to freedom
They also contend their constitutional rights to freedom of expression were violated.
“The law in the state of New Hampshire is that it is legal for a woman to go topless, so we’re trying to get the town of Laconia to recognise and to stay with the state,” Lilley said.
“The town ordinance, in our opinion, is not constitutional. We’re hoping the Supreme Court will see that.”
The women are part of the Free the Nipple movement, a global campaign that argues it should be acceptable for women to bare their nipples in public, since men can.
Supporters of the campaign also are taking their causes to courts with mixed success.
But in February, a U.S. District Court judge blocked the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, from enforcing a law against women going topless, arguing it was based on gender discrimination. The city is appealing.