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SAN FRANCISCO – A small part of San Francisco’s quirky history is about to get covered up.
The Board of Supervisors voted 6-5 on Tuesday to ban public nudity, prompting a handful of protesters to disrobe and get tossed out of the meeting.
The proposal by openly gay Supervisor Scott Wiener would make it illegal to show one’s genitals in public spaces, with a handful of exceptions including the annual Folsom Street Fair.
The proposal has sparked widespread controversy. Nudists and their allies argue that a ban would trample on freedom of expression in one of America’s most liberal cities, where people can walk around naked without most residents batting an eyelash. But supporters of a ban say that the nudists are out of control, turning freedom of expression into sexual acts.
Wiener has gotten a lot of flak from the LGBT community for his “wiener ban,” because many of the nudists hang out in the Castro district, which he represents.
"It's no longer a quirky part of San Francisco, it's seven days a week," Wiener was quoted as saying on sfgate.com. "Many people in the neighborhoods are over it and want to take action."
Exemptions to the nudity ban will include children younger than 5, private beaches and property, and annual events like Folsom Street and Bay to Breakers that obtain special permits.
The proposal requires a second approval and has the support of Mayor Ed Lee. If approved, it would go into effect on Feb. 1, 2013.