Since the summer of 2016, a debate has been brewing for whether or not women should be allowed topless on the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland. This controversy has made its way from the sandy beaches to the cold courtrooms.
Five women — Chelsea Eline of Salisbury, MD, along with Rose MacGregor of Salisbury, Megan Bryant of Lothian, MD, Christine Coleman of Long Island, NY and Angela Urban of Pittsburgh, PA — have filed a lawsuit against the town. These women and many others believe in ‘top freedom,’ where men and women should have the equal right to be topless on the beach. The lawsuit is to declare that the ordinance against going topless violates an equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the Declaration of Rights to the Maryland Constitution.
The town has declined to stop enforcement on striking down its mandate on topless women, and any woman who bares her breasts on the Ocean City beach may be fined up to $1,000. Because of this, the plaintiffs and their attorney, civil rights attorney Devon Jacob, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on June 29. Now, Ocean City has until July 27 to prepare a defense in order to deny the motion to dismantle its ordinance on topless women until a decision can finally be made.
Jacob feels strongly about this topic in Ocean City, saying, “Public funds [are] being wasted on trying to shield citizens from seeing a couple of naked female breasts,” and that this money could ” be used to make Ocean City truly family-friendly” which includes to “fight crime, feed the homeless, fight drug addiction and care for children and the elderly.”
Last summer, the Ocean City beach patrol, was instructed to document complaints about topless women, but they were told not to approach them; before the complaints were made, the beach patrol would tell women to cover up. The change prompted a statement from the town that stated, “Ocean City is not a topless beach and will not become a topless beach.”
What do you think – does it matter if women are allowed topless?