San Francisco lawmakers disappointed committed nudists last week by narrowly approving a ban on public nakedness despite concerns the measure would undermine the city’s reputation as a sanctuary for free expression.
The Board of Supervisors voted 6-5 in favor of a public safety ordinance that prohibits exposed genitals in most public places, including streets, sidewalks and public transit. The law still must pass a final vote and secure Mayor Edwin Lee’s signature to take effect early next year.
Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced the ban in response to escalating complaints about a group of men whose bare bodies are on display almost daily in the city’s predominantly gay Castro District.
“The Castro, and San Francisco in general, is a place of freedom, expression and acceptance. But freedom, expression and acceptance does not mean anything goes under any circumstances,” Wiener said Tuesday. “Our public spaces are for everyone, and as a result it’s appropriate to have some minimal standards of behavior.”
Wiener’s opponents on the board said a citywide ban was unnecessary and would draw police officers’ attention away from bigger problems while undermining San Francisco values like tolerance and appreciation for the offbeat.