Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Verdict

Publication Date

10-4-2011

Abstract

The Folsom Street Festival in San Francisco is an enormous—indeed, maybe the world’s largest—gathering of fetish paraphernalia and leather. This year, it was also home to a public “Nude-In,” a gathering convened to protest a new ordinance proposed by Scott Wiener, the Castro District’s new city supervisor.

Wiener’s law would forbid naked people from entering restaurants. It would also require naked people to put down a towel or other barrier before sitting down in public—say, for example, while riding a city bus. ...

Most people who have read this story in the newspapers may, perhaps, be surprised to realize that in San Francisco, public nudity is not altogether illegal. As we will discuss, San Francisco is in fact one of the few cities in America that does not ban public nudity. There are restrictions, but, as a general matter, simply walking around naked outside the privacy of your own home does not, in San Francisco, constitute indecent exposure, nor is it any kind of crime.

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