Yesterday I traveled to Laconia, NH’s district court to record the trials of Heidi Lilley and B. Liz MacKinnon, who were unexpectedly cited by police for going topless on the beach in Gilford, NH. This, just a couple of weeks after Lilley’s successful “Free the Nipple” topless equality event in Laconia.
Hoping to overturn the illegal, discriminatory town ordinance, Lilley and MacKinnon teamed up with Free State Project early mover and attorney Dan Hynes.
Hynes’ line of questioning was interesting, specifically asking the state’s witnesses, which included three snitches and a few cops, how they determine someone is a woman. The all answered something about breasts, which is inconclusive. Without inspecting genitalia, which the police did not do, there would be reasonable doubt that the person is female.
Hynes argued, in a ten-page motion to dismiss (complimented by jovial Judge James M. Carroll) the ordinance is unconstitutional and violates equal protection and the right to free expression. Further, he argues the ordinance is also illegal because New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state and unless the state legislature authorizes towns to pass laws of their own, they cannot legally do so.
Here’s the full video of the trial with quick interviews of attorney Hynes and Ms. Lilley afterwards. If you want a brief rundown of the hearing, you can read the live tweets I sent during the trial here. The judge took the case under advisement and will issue a ruling by mail later. Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest in this important case.