gavel.jpgThe fate of San Francisco’s recently passed ban on public nudity could be decided in a federal court hearing today.

Four nudist activists filed a lawsuit in November seeking to stop an ordinance that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was mulling to prohibit public nudity in the city with exceptions for children under five years old and in certain permitted events.

The supervisors eventually passed the legislation by a narrow 6-5 vote. It is set to take effect Feb. 1 barring a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen at a hearing this afternoon.

The activists, represented by attorney Christina DiEdoardo, argue that being nude is protected on constitutional grounds as expressive speech and that the ordinance violates the equal protection clause by exempting events like Folsom Street Fair and the Pride Parade.

The city attorney’s office is defending the ordinance and argues that courts have consistently upheld nudity bans against similar challenges.

The nudists are planning a noon rally outside of the federal courthouse at 450 Golden Gate Ave. in advance of the 1:30 p.m. hearing.

Gypsy Taub, who has organized several previous rallies by the nudists outside City Hall and elsewhere and famously stripped naked at a Board of Supervisors committee hearing on the legislation, publicized Thursday’s rally on her website.

“This is our last chance to address the people, the city government and the media before Judge Chen hears our case,” Taub wrote.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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