Lacking clarification from Maryland’s top attorney, the Ocean City Beach Patrol has asked its officers to stand down if they see a woman going topless on the beach.
Eastern Shore TV station WBOC reported yesterday that a memo went out this week to all beach patrol officers to document, but not approach or confront topless women on the beach. Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin told the station his department has always had the authority to tell women who sunbathe half-nude, “Hey, you can’t do that.”
However, that’s all in limbo now, thanks to a formal request for a review of the law called for by an activist from the Eastern Shore.
Chelsea Covington submitted her review request last fall. Covington advocates on a national platform for allowing women to go bare-chested in public, saying it’s permitted under state equal protection laws. Basically, if men can do it, why can’t women?
“Guys can walk around without a shirt on when they get hot, and I have wanted, since I was a very young child, to be able do the same,” she said in a Q&A with VICE.
After Covington submitted her inquiry, Worcester County State’s Attorney took a look at the books. Per The Dispatch of Ocean City, he said he found the laws on indecent exposure and disturbing the peace are “a little vague” and couldn’t locate any case in Maryland to substantiate an argument against it. He sent a memo to Frosh, who has yet to provide any clarification.
Which brings us here. As Arbin explained to WBOC, “Since the Maryland Attorney General’s Office hasn’t issued their opinion on it, we don’t feel like we can tell people not to sunbathe topless.”
Depending on whether Frosh weighs in and what he says, Maryland’s most popular beach could have an unusually open vibe this summer.
Latest posts by Ethan McLeod (see all)
- Wednesday Morning Headlines: A look at Baltimore’s public housing waitlist; Teen arrested in fight this month in Hampden speaks out; and more - January 23, 2019
- Tuesday Afternoon Headlines: Esskay dogs disappearing from Camden Yards; Water, heat issues close handful of city schools; and more - January 22, 2019
- Bill to fund Affordable Housing Trust—with corrected language—coming next week, councilman says - January 22, 2019