The “Free the Nipple” movement just had a big victory in Colorado.
The Colorado city of Fort Collins has ended a topless ban after a costly legal fight. The city had forked over $300,000 in legal bills as they defended the ordinance against two women who sued for discrimination.
“I think the council as they articulated in their 4-3 vote, really just thought as a matter of priority, no guarantee of success or that the supreme court would even take it up, that the money was just better spent on other city priorities,” a spokesperson for the city of Fort Collins said, according to NBC News.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that the ban was discriminatory towards women and reinforced “negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects.”
The court argued that female toplessness is allowed in Colorado cities like Denver and Boulder and it has not led to any significant negatives to communities. They rejected the notion that allowing toplessness would lead to females “parading in front of elementary schools or swimming topless in the public pool,” according to NBC.
Brittiany Hoagland and Samantha Six were the plaintiffs in the fight against Fort Collins. They filed their lawsuit all the way back in 2016. The actual ordnance from the city of Fort Collins stated that females ages 10 and up could not expose their breasts in public or in private areas that could be viewed by the public. The ordinance did not apply to breastfeeding.
“Addressing small parts of inequality can make a big difference in how people are treated on a day to day basis, and I thought free the nipple was just one small step closer to how it should be,” Hoagland told KGUN-TV.
Hoagland said the legal battle was about fighting for equality.
“Everybody should be able to be comfortable on a hot day and if that means taking their shirt off so be it. No matter how you look, you should have the same freedom as the person next to you. And it’s also about equality,” she said.
Andy McNulty, Hoagland’s attorney, said topless bans are unconstitutional.
“Any law that says, ‘Women are prohibited from…’ is unconstitutional and really just intolerable in a society that should treat women as equal to men,” the lawyer said.
Breaking the ordnance could have meant a fine up to $2,650 and even jail time for up to 180 days.
While most states still have topless bans, female toplessness is now legal in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
The battles are still happening all over the country, too. The United States Supreme Court will decide before the end of the year whether to hear a challenge against a topless ban in New Hampshire. That challenge is by three women who went topless to a lakeside beach.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals actually acknowledged in its February ruling that “ours is the minority viewpoint” when it comes to female toplessness.
Toplessness has been used before to push for social agendas like when a topless protester charged President Trump’s motorcade. The group claiming to be behind the act teased afterwards, “Our Weapon are bare breasts.”
Leftist Chelsea Handler also tried to use toplessness as a way to convince people to get out and vote.
The “Free the Nipple” movement — which has gotten questionable support in the past — was founded by Lina Esco, who co-wrote, directed and starred in a film based around the movement that goes by the same name.
Esco told Playboy the movement is fighting for gender equality.
One Instagram post from the group makes their stance pretty clear. It repeats the phrase “Men shouldn’t be making laws about women’s bodies” again and again and again.
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