The topless issue that created a firestorm for Ocean City officials this summer is heading to court after a lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges the town's emergency ordinance prohibiting women on the beach from going topless.
Salisbury resident Chelsea Eline, who previously used the pseudonym Covington in interactions with local officials and with Delmarvanow.com, filed a suit in U.S. District Court with four other women that claims Ocean City's emergency ordinance is unconstitutional. Tuesday's filing in court makes Eline's real name public.
|Chelsea Eline (Covington) at Ocean City|
Along with Eline, the plaintiffs include Rose MacGregor, of Salisbury; Megan Bryant, of Anne Arundel; Christine Coleman, of Long Island, New York; and Angela Urban, of Pittsburgh.
The lawsuit seeks a ruling that the ordinance violates an equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the Declaration of Rights to the Maryland Constitution.
"This lawsuit is about confirming the legal right of women to be bare-chested, in public, in the same places that men are permitted to be bare-chested, for purposes other than breastfeeding," the lawsuit reads.
It claims that gender classification does not further government interest, but increases the idea that women are
viewed as "inherently sexual objects."
The defendants named in the suit include the town; Mayor Rick Meehan; Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald, who oversees the beach patrol; and police Chief Ross Buzzuro.Filed under lawsuits I hope will succeed.
The lawsuit lists several examples of precedence for the plaintiffs' claims. In the most recent example, a federal district judge in Fort Collins, Colorado, ruled against enforcement of ordinances attempting to make female toplessness illegal.
Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Girls In The Desert" up and running.
Bare-Chested at Brighton Beach, Summer 2015 from Chelsea Covington on Vimeo.