Dear body freedom lovers,
please join us for a protest against the SF nudity ban on the 2nd anniversary of this draconian legislation! Stand up for body freedom and freedom of choice!
We will gather at Jane Warner Plaza on Sunday, February 1st @ 12 noon – please join us nude, dressed or anywhere in between!
Let’s keep the pressure on and let’s show the city that we are serious about our fundamental human right to do what we choose with our own bodies! Let’s stand up for our own rights and the rights of the rest of San Franciscans, as well as humanity as a whole – for what happens in San Francisco has a ripple effect on the rest of the country and the rest of the world.
I want to thank everyone who generously donated to our legal fund. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Our lawsuit wouldn’t be possible without your continued support.
Please help us raise more money – we almost have enough for January and will need to come up with the February payment of $500. Any amount helps. Please click on the “donation” button on the right to make a donation or email me if you want to send me a check.
Here is an update on our federal lawsuit, a few words from our amazing lawyers/activists Gill Sperlein and Larry Walters:
Update on Nudity Litigation:
The litigation against San Francisco remains pending, despite efforts to dismiss the case by governmental officials. The City and County of San Francisco filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint, which contained six different counts. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed one of the claims and the Court dismissed four others. However, the Court denied the City’s motion to dismiss one of the Plaintiffs most important claims relating to unconstitutional enforcement of the ordinance against protestors.
Count Four of the Second Amended Complaint is a First Amendment Claim based on unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. Sometimes Courts analyze this type of claim as a Fourteenth Amendment “Equal Protection” argument, but the idea is the same under either analysis. The City and County of San Francisco has enforced the nudity ban against body freedom activists, but it has chosen to ignore violations of the ordinance by people participating in events sponsored by groups with political clout at City Hall. We believe this is both wrong and unconstitutional.
The best examples of this discrimination involve nude participants of the World Naked Bike Rides or Critical Mass demonstrations. It is common knowledge that the Bicycle Coalition has significant clout at City Hall. When individuals violate the nudity ordinance in order to bring attention to the cause of increasing bicycle safety, reducing oil dependence, or similar bicycle related themes, the City turns a blind eye. But when body freedom activists, engage in nude protests to object to the ordinance or to demonstrate their unwavering belief that the naked human body should be celebrated rather than hidden, the City dispatches large numbers of police officers to squelch the protests and arrest the activists. Thus, the City silences viewpoints it disfavors, and encourages viewpoints with which it agrees. This is not the role of government in the marketplace of ideas.
By denying the City’s Motion to dismiss this claim, the Court acknowledges that the Plaintiffs pled sufficient facts in the Second Amended Complaint to reasonably infer that the City is liable for the alleged misconduct. Plaintiffs’ attorney D. Gill Sperlein said that while he is disappointed with the Court’s dismissal of some of the claims, he is confident the Plaintiffs will prevail on the remaining claim. “I have a great deal of respect for the judge,” Sperlein said, “but, I think this particular ruling contained a few mistakes in reasoning which would have a profoundly negative impact on Freedom of Speech if they were taken to their logical conclusion. However, the Court is certainly correct about the remaining claim. The City has been targeting these individuals because the City does not like that they advocate for body freedom. At the same time, the City engages in willful blindness when individuals undress to bring attention to a cause the City supports.” Lawrence Walters, a First Amendment guru from Florida who also represents the Plaintiffs in the case said that an appeal of the dismissed claims is all but certain.
The City’s answer to the remaining claim is due shortly, and the case is now in the discovery stage. Parties will likely file motions for summary judgment sometime in the Spring or Summer, with a trial expected shortly thereafter.