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Protesters bare all at City Hall after San Francisco bans nudity

November 21, 2012 | 10:27 am

The Naked Guys (and Gals) were not happy.

"It's not a legitimate government!" one shouted. "You're voting against the majority of the people," yelled another. "Shame!"

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 6 to 5 on Tuesday to require clothing under most circumstances on the streets of San Francisco. And once the votes were cast, the clothes came off.

Several men and women stripped down and were escorted out of the chamber, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. No arrests were made.

Faced with complaints about a band of so-called Naked Guys gathering daily in the Castro District, Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced legislation last month to ban public nudity citywide, except for at permitted festivals and parades.

"This legislation has strong support in the community," Wiener said to kick off the debate before Tuesday's vote. "I'm talking about support from everyday citizens who live and work in this wonderful neighborhood."

The stricture wasn't the brainchild of business owners, as some naturists have claimed. Nor did straight couples with children raise a fuss about freedom of expression — and freedom from clothing — in the heart of gay San Francisco.

"The dominant demographic expressing concern is gay men," Wiener told his colleagues as he implored them to expand on an earlier ordinance requiring clothing in restaurants and a barrier between naked bodies and public seating.

Until recently, officials generally had turned the other cheek to questions of public nudity — particularly when the sightings of sandal-clad men with all-body tans around the Castro district were sporadic.

Then two years ago, when Jane Warner Plaza was dedicated at the intersection of Castro and Market streets, the number of Naked Guys grew. And so did the complaints, from gay men who live in the area and shop owners near the gathering spot, which eventually was dubbed the "Buff Stop."

Wiener's attempt at regulation last year banned nudity in restaurants and established the outdoor seating guidelines. The goal was to bring a little civility back into the practice of urban nudism. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect.

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--Maria La Ganga in San Francisco and Samantha Schaefer

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