A federal judge has ordered Fort Collins to “ free the nipple ” from city regulations.A federal judge has ruled that a Fort Collins city ordinance preventing women from being topless in public discriminates against women. Now Fort Collins has been ordered to “ free the nipple ” and get rid of the ordinance. U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson granted an injunction on Feb. 22 that halted the Fort Collins ordinance prohibiting women from showing their breasts in public. He stated that it was discriminatory towards women and perpetuated stereotypes that sexualized female bodies.
I find that the ordinance discriminates against women based on the generalized notion that, regardless of a woman’s intent, the exposure of her breasts in public (or even in her private home if viewable by the public) is necessarily a sexualized act”[caption id="attachment_10130" align="aligncenter" width="549"] Photo courtesy of Westword.[/caption] While the case is not finished yet, Jackson wrote that he would grant the injunction because he believes that he will ultimately find that the ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. David Lane, a civil rights attorney who argued against the ordinance when it was originally proposed, was not surprised by the judge’s decision. He said of the ordinance that “Any statute that has the words in it ‘Women are prohibited from’ is almost certainly unconstitutional.”
In his decision, Jackson ruled against the city’s claim that the law maintained public order and protected children. He wrote that, due to breastfeeding, breasts are one of the first things children experience in life and therefore the simple sight of a female breast does not endanger them. He continued that, as with many other legal behaviors, common sense and sensitivity to others does still dictate that there is a time and a place that’s appropriate. Jackson concluded with this statement:
Unfortunately, our history is littered with many forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women… As the barriers have come down, one by one, some people were made uncomfortable. In our system, however, the Constitution prevails over popular sentiment.”What are your thoughts on this injunction? Let us know in the comments!