A federal court ruling out of Colorado means women and girls can go topless in Oklahoma, at least for now. And to celebrate, at least a couple dozen women are planning a topless event in downtown Oklahoma City this Saturday.
“I believe that if guys can walk down the street with their top off free and without any issues, then I believe that women can too,” said Brandi Hargrove, who is organizing a topless scooter cruise.
This past weekend, a handful of women went roller skating topless in Tulsa in response to a federal case out of Colorado.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s decision that a Colorado law which banned women and girls from being topless in public is unconstitutional. The decision effectively makes it legal for females to go topless in public in all areas of the 10th Circuit’s jurisdiction, which includes Oklahoma.
“This is a first amendment type case but when you allow men to go without a top and you don’t allow women, you get an equal protection issue and the law has to be equal,” said criminal defense attorney David Slane.
But Slane said this opens up a pandoras box of other legal problems.
“What if an 11-year-old child, or 12-year-old or 13-year-old teenager is out there, breasts open, and somebody takes a picture. Now you’re possessing child pornography. And that’s a felony in Oklahoma,” said Slane.
According to Oklahoma Municipal Code, “The term nudity shall mean the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple.”
“But I think the way that ordinance is written they could arrest a woman for breastfeeding her child,” said Slane.
Oklahoma City police say despite the ruling, they will enforce the city ordinance.
“I’m definitely gonna fight it. I’m gonna fight it and I’m gonna win,” said Hargrove.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released a statement saying, "The Tenth Circuit’s preliminary decision in the Fort Collins case – a case that has now ended without a full adjudication – does not change local and state laws in Oklahoma on the subject. The majority of courts around the country that have examined this issue have upheld traditional public decency and public nudity laws. These courts have recognized that states and political subdivisions have a legitimate interest in prohibiting public nudity as traditionally defined.”