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San Francisco nudists might have to cover up if new ordinance passes

Going bare on the streets of San Francisco could legally become taboo, if a city official's proposal to ban public nudity gains support.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents a district in the city and county of San Francisco, introduced the ordinance Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Wiener's coverage area includes the Castro District, which is notorious for nudity.

Under the proposed law, nudity would still be allowed at San Francisco's street fairs, festivals, parades and beaches (which are under federal control). The ordinance is instead targeting an increase in daily occurrences of nudists around the district.

"We've always had some public nudity in the Castro," Wiener told NBC on Thursday. But Wiener said there has recently been a significant increase in the neighborhood's Jane Warner Plaza.

"Our town square [is] becoming an ad-hoc nudist colony," Wiener said, adding that on a slow day there are two to four nudists at the plaza, and on a busy day, upward of 10 to 12.

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Since California state law does not ban public nudity outright, but only "lewd" public behavior, these rules are left for cities and counties to decide, according to The San Francisco Examiner. The Examiner noted that San Francisco's parks and port property already ban nudity, but this proposed ordinance would also include public transit, sidewalks, plazas and smaller "parklets."

The proposed ordinance would fine people in the buff up to $100 for a first offense, up to $200 for a second offense within a year, and either a misdemeanor or up to $500 ticket for the third strike.

To pass, the plan has to be approved by a majority of the city's supervisors and signed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the Examiner noted.

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But not everyone in the city is too happy about banning birthday suits in public.

George Davis, a former nude candidate for mayor in San Francisco, told the Chronicle that he believes the proposed ban is "an attack on freedom."

"I walk all over the place nude," Davis told the Chronicle. "The most common reaction is oblivious."

 This is not the first time Wiener has targeted the city's public nudity. According to the Examiner, last year he successfully helped encourage a law that stipulates nudists must place a cloth buffer between their body and any public seat they sit on.

Public nudity bans are already in place in the Bay Area cities of San Jose and Berkeley, Calif., the Examiner reported.

NBCBayArea.com's Chris Roberts contributed to this story.

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