Ocean City Topless Ban Headed for Appeal

Five women are appealing the decision of a federal judge in April that upheld Ocean City’s 2017 law prohibiting female toplessness in public spaces such as the beaches and the Boardwalk.

Citing 2019 case law, a federal judge ruled back in April that the elected officials of Ocean City were best placed to gauge the resident’s sensibilities towards female toplessness and were within their abilities to enact the ban. Plaintiffs in the case asserted that they were out of touch with changing public opinion and that the local ordinance violated the equal protection clause by singling out female toplessness.

From coverage in the Daily Record:

Ocean City, in defense of its ban in district court, stated that public opposition to women going topless in the town remains strong. Town leaders received many in-person visits, telephone calls and emails from residents and seasonal visitors voicing strong concern with the prospect of a change in the dress code, wrote Ocean City’s lawyer, Bruce F. Bright, of Ayres, Jenkins, Gordy & Almand PA in Ocean City.

The town’s response to the women’s 4th Circuit filing is due at the appellate court Aug. 13.

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Previous Coverage on Conduit Street: Federal Judge Okays Ocean City Topless Ban

U.S. District Court Opinion