By Ronnie Cohen
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco city leaders gave final approval on Tuesday to a ban on public nudity, a measure aimed at curtailing displays of nakedness that some residents and business owners say have gotten out of control in the famously tolerant city.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors' action at City Hall prompted about a half dozen angry protesters to strip down to their socks.
Standing at the ready with blankets, sheriff's deputies quickly covered up the demonstrators and led them from the majestic beaux-arts chamber. Protesters, one wearing only rainbow knee socks and another sporting black nylons, chanted, "body freedom" and "shame on you" as they were escorted out.
The Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to the nudity ban two weeks ago. Its final 6-5 vote on Tuesday came without further debate from the panel.
The supervisors' efforts to clamp down on public nudity has caused a flap in the city, where men in particular are known to parade in the buff through the streets of the predominantly gay Castro District.
Some residents and business owners say nudists, and specifically a group known as the Naked Guys, have gone too far with their constant presence at a square in the Castro District. But nudists claim a right to bare all and say politicians in San Francisco, which has often celebrated the bizarre and unconventional, should leave them alone.
Mayor Ed Lee is expected to sign the ordinance, which would clear the way for it to take effect on February 1.
Supervisor Scott Wiener drafted the proposal to ban public nudity in the city, and he represents the Castro District. Opponents dubbed the ordinance the "Wiener bill."
"This has been a very difficult issue, a lot of strong views on both sides," Wiener told Reuters after the vote. "But it was an issue that needed to be addressed, and I addressed it in a very narrow way." Continued...