Court hears challenge to topless ban at Maryland beach
Added 05-06-21 12:03:02pm EST - “A ban on bare-chested women at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and should be overturned, advocates argued to a federal appeals court.” - Washingtontimes.com
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A ban on bare-chested women at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and should be overturned, advocates argued to a federal appeals court.
The Washington Post reports that the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing a ruling last year that upheld Ocean City‘s ordinance barring women, but not men, from going topless at the beach to protect “public sensibilities.”
During oral arguments Wednesday, Chief Judge Roger Gregory expressed skepticism about Ocean City’s rationale for the measure. Gregory asked how many calls town officials received complaining about the possibility of women going topless, and noted that the ordinance was passed after an inquiry to police about what would happen if women “expressed their freedom in this manner on the beach.”
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Gregory said public sensibilities and legal standards have changed over time, citing Supreme Court decisions overturning laws that criminalized interracial marriage and sexual activity between same-sex adults.
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