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Tue May 7, 2019, 05:25 AM

'Free The Nipple' Loses Case Challenging Springfield, Missouri, Indecent Exposure Law

In 2015, two members of the nonprofit organization Free the Nipple-Springfield Residents Promoting Equality went topless – although their nipples were covered – in Springfield’s town square to protest the city’s indecent exposure ordinance.

After the protest, the Springfield City Council enacted an even stricter ordinance, which Free the Nipple and the two members challenged in court.

Represented by the ACLU of Missouri, they argued that Springfield could have enacted a neutral law prohibiting both men and women from showing their nipples. The ordinance, they said, was based on impermissible stereotypes and violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause by treating men and women differently.

U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips disagreed. In 2017, she ruled the city had a legitimate interest in prohibiting nudity and allowed the ordinance to stand.


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