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Topless women case may head to Supreme Court

A group of activists are seeking to have their challenge to a law barring women from being topless in public in Ocean City, Maryland, go all the way to the US Supreme Court.
The petition to the Supreme Court was filed on December 1, and it has until January 7 to respond. 

The ordinance was passed in 2017 after one of the plaintiffs, Chelsea Eline, contacted local police and said she had the legal right to be topless in public, which men can do in the city under the law. Breaking the ordinance on public nudity could lead to a fine of up to $1,000. 

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An appeals court ruled in August of this year that the ordinance is constitutional, after a federal judge had also deemed it constitutional in 2020. 

Though the decision was unanimous, there have been questions about how far the law could actually be taken.

“Suppose the ordinance defined nudity to include public exposure of a woman’s hair, neck, shoulders, or ankles. Would that law not run afoul of the Equal Protection Clause?” Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the decision.

The court, however, determined that Ocean City, Maryland’s largest beach town and a popular tourist attraction, is within its rights to pass the law as it is “protecting public sensibilities.” 

A request to rehear the case was denied in September, leaving the five women who are behind the legal challenge with a potential Supreme Court ruling as their last option, though there is no guarantee it will hear the case. 

The plaintiffs argue in their petition that not only is the ordinance unconstitutional, but it also comes from “longstanding discriminatory and sexist ideology in which women are viewed as inherently sexual objects without the agency to decide when they are sexual and when they are not.”
https://ift.tt/3s2N40T 14, 2021 at 11:02PM
from RT – Daily news

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