Woman Seeks Legal Clarification on Going Topless in Ocean City

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Ocean City's boardwalk
Ocean City’s boardwalk

Maryland’s Attorney General is being asked to hand down an opinion that could bring change to bare in Ocean City next year. 

According to WBOC-TV, an Eastern Shore woman who advocates for women to be able to go topless asked for a review of the laws surrounding toplessness at the beach in Ocean City. Chelsea Covington is a national advocate for topfreedom. She has a blog called Breasts are Healthy, and was featured in The New York Times among other outlets. Covington prefers the term “bare-chested” to topless, and sees restrictions on going topless as an equal rights issue. Citing the state’s Equal Protection Law, Covington argues that both men and women should be able to go shirtless.

“Disparate treatment of the male and female breast contributes to feelings of body and gender shame in young girls and adult women, which is associated with life-long health concerns,” she told the station.

Apparently, the laws weren’t clear enough to be able to immediately rule. The Worcester County State’s Attorney asked the state Attorney General to issue an opinion. In a letter obtained by The Dispatch of Ocean City, the State’s Attorney said he researched indecent exposure and disturbing the peace. He writes that language was “a little vague” and “found no case in Maryland that was directly on point.”

The state Attorney General has yet to rule.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.