LOL! This has nothing to do with the 14th Amendment. 🙂 Always something crazy going on in Ocean City.
Via Baltimore Sun – Ocean City’s ordinance prohibiting topless women in public is being challenged by a lawsuit.
The Daily Times reports the suit filed Tuesday by five women in federal court includes Ocean City and several officials as defendants. Officials had unanimously passed the ordinance during an emergency session in June after the beach patrol said lifeguards would no longer approach and scold women who are topless.
Chelsea Eline, one of the plaintiffs, had used the pseudonym Covington to contact the beach patrol in 2016. She believed it was her right to appear topless in public like men.
Eline’s lawyer, Devon Jacob, said Wednesday the ordinance violates an equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
– Mayor responds-
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan has responded to a lawsuit filed by Salisbury resident Chelsea Eline and four other women, who claim the town’s emergency ordinance prohibiting women on the beach from going topless is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court.
On Tuesday, Meehan issued the following statement: “The mayor and council firmly believe that Ocean City must continue to be a family resort that does not permit women to be topless on our beaches or in other public areas. As clearly stated in our emergency ordinance passed in June 2017, ‘there is no constitutional right for an individual to appear in public nude or in a state of nudity. It does not implicate either the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to privacy, or a protected liberty interest. It lacks any communicated value that might call for First Amendment protection.’
“We will pursue all available legal options to ensure that this remains the case for the benefit of our residents and the millions of families who visit our town each year,” Meehan said.
BACKGROUND: Ocean City topless debate heads to federal court
Along with Eline, the other plaintiffs in the suit are Rose MacGregor of Salisbury; Megan Bryant of Anne Arundel; Christine Coleman of Long Island, New York, and Angela Urban of Pittsburgh.
The lawsuit seeks a ruling that the ordinance violates an equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the Declaration of Rights to the Maryland Constitution.
“This lawsuit is about confirming the legal right of women to be bare-chested, in public, in the same places that men are permitted to be bare-chested, for purposes other than breastfeeding,” the lawsuit reads.
The question began during summer 2016 when the beach patrol was contacted by Eline, under the pseudonym Covington, who believed it was her legal right to bare her chest on the Ocean City beach.