Ocean City, Maryland – While the Worcester County States’ Attorney waits for an opinion from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, the Ocean City Council has passed local legislation after a woman expressed her desire to be bare-chested on Ocean City’s beach. The woman, an advocate to “normalize bare-chestedness,” believes it is her constitutional right under equal protection to be bare-chested in public.
Ocean City officials disagree. The Council met on Saturday, June 10, to pass an emergency ordinance that prohibits offenses involving public nudity or those in a state of nudity. The ordinance states “there is no constitutional right for an individual to appear in public nude or in a state of nudity. Whatever personal right one has to be nude or in a state of nudity that right becomes subject to government interest and regulation when one seeks to exercise it in public.”
Further, the ordinance reads, “equal protection clause does not demand that things that are different in fact be treated the same in law, nor that a government pretend there are no physiological differences between men and women.”
The council voted unanimously in favor of the emergency ordinance.