Colorado city formally drops female topless ban after women's legal fight to 'Free the Nipple'

Colorado city formally drops female topless ban after women's legal fight to 'Free the Nipple'

A Colorado city this week formally removed a public ordinance from its code that banned women from going topless in public, months after an appeals court ruled such a law constituted discrimination against women.

Fort Collins, Colo., decided it wouldn’t appeal a February ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a previous federal judge’s ruling that the ban was derived from “negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects,” the court wrote in its decision.

Officials in Fort Collins — which had spent more than $300,000 defending the law since two women sued in May 2016, alleging that the ordinance violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause — concluded that continuing the fight wasn’t worth it, NBC News reports.

“The money was just better spent on other city priorities," Tyler Marr, a Fort Collins government spokesman, told NBC News.

ADVERTISEMENT

By not fighting the ban and appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court, women can essentially go topless legally in the six states that fall under the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

The move marks a major victory for Brittiany Hoagland and Samantha Six, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit first filed in 2016, and for the #FreeTheNipple movement, which aims to decriminalize female toplessness and promote gender equality.

The former ordinance in Fort Collins said females over age 10 were not allowed to knowingly expose their breasts in any public place or on certain private properties that could be viewed from a public area. The ban did not extend to women breastfeeding in allowed places.

The city's nudity ban threatened a hefty fine of up $2,650 for a misdemeanor, jail for up to 180 days, or both.

The court noted that several other courts have rejected equal protection challenges to female-only toplessness bans, writing: “We recognize that ours is the minority viewpoint.”

Three women have called on the Supreme Court to overturn a New Hampshire city’s female-only topless ban after the state’s highest court ruled that publicly exposing the female breast “almost invariably conveys sexual overtones,” NBC News reports.

The Supreme Court has yet to announce if it will hear the case.