The legal battles over Scott Wiener's 2012 nudity ban linger on, and today SFist received an update from one of the lead nudity activists/"body freedom protesters" and all around fun character Gypsy Taub. As you may recall, Taub and other nude cohorts were cited for being nude at Bay to Breakers in 2014, as well as at demonstrations where they were protesting the nudity ban itself in 2012. The thing is, they argue, not only did the language of the law make exemptions for traditionally unclothed, permitted events like Bay to Breakers and Folsom Street Fair, but their right to free speech was violated when they were cited for nudity in the context of protest.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen allowed the nudists' suit to move forward to appeal in December, declining to stop the city from continuing to enforce the ban, and in March they reached a preliminary settlement with the city over part of their claim. The details of the settlement weren't disclosed at the time, but as of yesterday, according to Taub, their attorney agreed to a financial settlement to cover part of their legal fees in the case the city has agreed to pay $20,000 toward those legal fees as the case moves forward to an appeal at the Ninth Circuit.
The nudists have brought on an expert in nude-freedom and First Amendment law, Lawrence Walters, who has successfully litigated similar cases over nudity in the South. He and plaintiffs' attorney D. Gill Sperlein have argued that citations were arbitrarily and unfairly given certain instances and not in others, proving that the city takes an inconsistent approach to enforcement namely, police were present but did not issue citations at a World Naked Bike Ride event and at a staged protest in 2013, which was arranged for a gay porn film shoot in the Castro, titled Golden Gate 5, which itself was a parody of Sup. Wiener and the new law.
Says Sperlein, "Judge Chen’s earlier rulings made it clear that the Plaintiffs were going to succeed on First and Fourteenth Amendment claims based on viewpoint discrimination. We have settled that claim so that we can focus on the claims that are the most important to the Plaintiffs."
Walters adds that the settlement "provides important funding to continue litigating the important constitutional issues that pervade the ordinance."
Standing alongside Taub through many of these protests, local nudist and sometime mayoral candidate George Davis says, "Let's hope that the Ninth Circuit Court aligns itself with the reality-based progressive world in their deliberations."