A US federal judge in Denver yesterday blocked the ban on female appearing topless
U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson wrote the ordinance — which mandates women will not knowingly expose their breasts in public — is rooted in discrimination against women.
“Thus, it perpetuates a stereotype engrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not,” Jackson wrote.
Jackson granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and said it’s likely to succeed at a permanent injunction.
He wrote that he would likely find the ordinance unconstitutional when the case goes to trial.
He criticized city lawyers’ chief arguments that the law maintains public order and protects children.
He cited testimony by Fort Collins Police Services assistant chief Jerry Schiager, who told the court that topless women would cause distracted driving and traffic issues, which Jackson said “amounts to little more than speculation.”
Jackson also criticized the city’s inability to provide “meaningful evidence” to support its argument that the sight of a female breast endangers children.
City attorney Carrie Daggett issued a statement Wednesday, in which she said the city would no longer cite women for exposing their breast in public, pending a final decision in the case.
Plaintiff Brit Hoagland said the preliminary injunction is a “historic victory.”
Hoagland said the fight over the topless ban was not as important as the fight over the right to vote or other current social justice issues but that the injunction granted privileges to women that men had all along.
Jackson cited evidence including testimony by the chair of Colorado College’s psychology department that sexual objectification of the female breast contributes to higher rates of sexual assault and violence as factors in his decision.