The Ocean City Council passed an emergency ordinance to prohibit public nudity or states of nudity in response to a woman’s desire to be bare-chested on the city’s beach.
The council met on Saturday to pass the legislation, which stated, “There is no constitutional right for an individual to appear in public nude or in a state of nudity."
"Whatever personal right one has to be nude or in a state of nudity that right becomes subject to government interest and regulation when one seeks to exercise it in public.”
The clash came about after a legal challenge from a woman who argued that Maryland law allows women to go bare-chested in public. The city previously issues a memo directing the lifeguards not to confront bare-chested women or ask them to cover up.
On its Facebook page on Friday, the city said police will deal with complaints about toplessness. The post added officials will do "whatever is necessary" to prevent toplessness from happening on the beach or any public area in Ocean City.
Mayor Rick Meehan wrote on the city’s Facebook page on Saturday, “This ordinance provides clarity as to the position of the Town of Ocean City that we will not allow women to be topless on our beach or on any public property within city limits.”
The Worcester County state’s attorney is waiting an opinion from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office about the legality of toplessness in Maryland.