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Will Boulder Make Public Toplessness Illegal?

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Beckner, MarkDespite police crackdowns on Boulder’s Naked Pumpkin Run and World Naked Bike Ride—a statement against oil dependence—some nudity is legal. Currently, officers wanting to punish someone for being nude must resort to a state law for indecent exposure. However, a conviction could result in mandatory registration as a sex offender—a punishment many officials think is too harsh, even Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner. “Certainly, there are some circumstances that we don’t think rise to that level,” he tells the Daily Camera. Still, Beckner (pictured) doesn’t think there are many legitimate reasons anyone should be naked or partially naked in a public place: “I just don’t buy the argument that being naked is political speech.”

Though Judd Golden, chairman of the Boulder County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, disagrees, the city is considering a public-nudity law that would expand the definition of being naked to include women exposing a nipple and make it a municipal offense for anyone to be naked in public or within public view. Since the 1980s, municipal law has only addressed nudity in Coot Lake, where people used to sunbathe in the nude (although toplessness was not covered). Tickets would carry a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 90 days in jail.

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