Not so fast . . . Ocean City Enacts Emergency Ban on Topless Women

June 12, 2017


Emergency Ban On Topless Sunbathing Enacted In Ocean City Ocean City city leaders took emergency action Saturday to outlaw topless sunbathing by women and public nudity. By Deb Belt (Patch Staff) - Updated June 10, 2017 2:24 pm ET


OCEAN CITY, MD — After fears from some residents and beach-goers that topless women would flock to its sandy shores, the Ocean City Council passed an emergency measure Saturday, June 10, to ban public nudity. The move came after word that the beach patrol in Ocean City would disregard women who are sunbathing topless circulated across social media.


The city council voted unanimously for the emergency ordinance after a woman expressed her desire to be bare-chested on Ocean City’s beach, the town's website says. The woman, an advocate to “normalize bare-chestedness,” believes it is her constitutional right under equal protection to be bare-chested in public.


Ocean City officials disagree. The new ordinance prohibits offenses involving public nudity or those in a state of nudity. The law says “there is no constitutional right for an individual to appear in public nude or in a state of nudity. Whatever personal right one has to be nude or in a state of nudity that right becomes subject to government interest and regulation when one seeks to exercise it in public.”


While the Worcester County States’ Attorney waits for an opinion from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, word circulated that topless sun-worshippers would get a pass from officials. That prompted Saturday's quick action by the council.


The topless ban also says “equal protection clause does not demand that things that are different in fact be treated the same in law, nor that a government pretend there are no physiological differences between men and women.”


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