New Florida Anti-Nudity Ordinance in Clay County Seeks to Outlaw Nudist Resorts, Beaches, etc
The Naturist Action Committee is drawing people’s attention to an anti-nudity ordinance being considered in Clay County in northeastern Florida. This ordinance is no better than the one proposed in Topeka, KS and in fact sounds worse.
The county’s Board of County Commissioners (BCC) has produced a couple of new ordinances with the goal of regulating “sexually oriented businesses” or SOB’s, and public nudity. NAC notes that Clay County is “sparsely populated,” but it’s located next to the city of Jacksonville. It just so happens that a woman petitioned for a nude beach in Jacksonville not too long ago. The mayor stated the city was not interested in it, as they wanted to keep the area “family friendly.” So at present there are no official nude beaches in northeast Florida.
Clay County itself doesn’t even have any SOB’s currently, but they are worried about future businesses moving in. Also, they already have an ordinance to deal with such businesses, but they’ve been advised that this ordinance could be found to be unconstitutional if it were challenged.
The BCC believes that SOB’s would have a variety of negative social consequences. They’ve attached these same consequences to public nudity.
Excerpted from the Florida anti-nudity ordinance:
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners (the Board), of Clay County, Florida (the County), on behalf of the citizens of the County, desires to regulate public nudity and sexual conduct, and the Board believes that public nudity and sexual conduct begets undesirable behavior, and that adverse secondary effects such as, but not limited to, prostitution, attempted sexual battery, sexual battery, assault and the spread of social communicable and sexually transmittable diseases and may occur and have the potential for occurring where nude and sexual conduct is permitted; and,
WHEREAS, the Board believes that the appearance of persons in the nude in public places generally increases adverse secondary effects such as, but not limited to, incidents of prostitution, sexual assaults and batteries, attracts other criminal activity to the community, and encourages degradation of women and other activities which break down societal and family structures; and,
So basically, they believe public nudity will lead to more prostitution, sexual assault, and other criminal sexual behavior. The rest of the ordinance goes on to say it would be a threat to public order, public health and societal / family structures. This anti-nudity ordinance would outlaw public nudity – including nudist resorts, beaches and any other nude or clothing-optional places. (It should be noted that these ordinances are regulating venues like strip clubs, but not outlawing them entirely.)
It’s become increasingly common for lawmakers to include public nudity when attempting to regulate SOB’s. So it seems all the criminal activity they associate with these businesses, gets foisted on public nudity as well. Of course there is no evidence for any of these claims about public nudity. All we have to do is look at Pasco County, Florida, where nudist resorts flourish. Despite the positive impact of nudist businesses, apparently somewhere around 50 out of the 67 counties in Florida have anti-nudity ordinances. Clay County would be another one cutting itself off from a good source of revenue it would get from any naturist businesses or recreational areas. Of course should this ordinance pass, it will affect the rest of Florida as well.
Like the Topeka ordinance, this anti-nudity ordinance also criminalizes certain types of women’s swimsuit bottoms (with its definition of “buttocks”) and discriminates against women by outlawing female topfreedom.
In short, this ordinance is a garbage piece of legislation that shouldn’t be allowed to pass.
What’s the latest news on this ordinance?
The BCC recently met on October 14th to discuss the ordinances, which were presented by the attorney they hired. Forty citizens attended the meeting (some of whom were nudists / naturists) and thirty-nine were opposed to the new laws. The locals urged the BCC to do more research and take more time to go over the ordinances.
What do we do now?
NAC is asking Florida and Clay County residents to attend the next meeting on Tuesday, October 28th and to contact the members of the BCC to speak out against the ordinance. (Those who do business in Clay County or have family there, are encouraged to speak out as well.) For more instructions on who to write to and what to do, please visit NAC’s Action Alert page.
**UPDATE 10/29/14**: The BCC voted 4-1 to put off all the ordinances for further study and community input. Stay tuned for a full report and update on the NAC website!