Today was the day of the latest “Free the Nipple” trial in New Hampshire’s Laconia district court. Though the ladies who protested the nipple ban in 2015 were found not guilty after a hilarious trial that I captured on video, this time around three of the ladies were found guilty for a topless event that happened in Laconia early in 2016. Both seemingly conflicting verdicts were given by the same judge. The ladies and their attorney intend to appeal.
This is a crime? – Hampton Beach “Free the Nipple”, 2015
Unfortunately I was not there to record today’s trial due to a car breakdown. I was told it was a very short event, as all the testimony in the case was given by the witnesses in a prior hearing in October on a motion by defense attorney Dan Hynes to dismiss the case. Thankfully, Free Keene blogger and legal expert Melanie Johnson was at the original hearing in October to take notes.
Though the very same judge, James M Carroll found the ladies who were topless in 2015 in Gilford not guilty on a technicality because NH is not a “home rule” state, this time he found the Laconia ladies guilty! Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair, and Ginger Pierro were sentenced to a $100 fine suspended given 12 months of good behavior.
In November of 2016 Carroll denied Hynes’ motion to dismiss saying that Laconia prosecutors had found an “enabling statute” that allowed the city to ban toplessness.
Judge James M Carroll of Laconia District Court
Since New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state, cities and towns are only supposed to be allowed to make things illegal that they’ve been enabled to prohibit specifically by the state legislature. According to the Concord Monitor’s Nick Reid, the prosecutors argued that RSA 47:17:XIII grants the town the right to regulate female toplessness. The statute does say that cities and towns can,
“regulate the times and places of bathing and swimming in the canals, rivers and other waters of the city, and the clothing to be worn by bathers and swimmers.”
Attorney Hynes, who is also a state representative, told me he’s disappointed in the court’s decision and intends to file an appeal with the NH supreme court. He’s previously stated the statute is unconstitutional and that he doesn’t believe banning female toplessness was the legislature’s intention. He says he’ll also be supporting legislation in 2018 to repeal the statute in question. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest for this important equal rights case.
I was eating dinner with my boyfriend in our kitchen watching a Facebook live stream debate about guns on campus at the University of Texas when suddenly the video stopped. A pop up said something like, “Session expired.”
Someone reported a photo of me my friends at the beach as nudity, and Facebook responded by restricting my ability to communicate with you on their platform in two ways. I can not post on my wall or respond to messages using Messenger for the next 3 days.
I feel sad that I can’t use Facebook. It is the primary way I communicate with the world. Especially the Messenger app. An acquaintance I met at a conference asked me a question, and I am not able to respond. I am not even able to explain why I can’t respond. That is embarrassing and frustrating. I want to maintain a good reputation with this new friend, but I can’t respond to him, and he doesn’t know that I can’t. Fortunately I have been using Signal, Telegram, and other messaging apps, so I am still largely able to communicate. (more…)
Did facebook silently delete the news about the topless ban proposal going down in flames? The evidence says yes. The original Free Keene post to facebook has mysteriously disappeared, which means that the nearly 1,000 people who liked and shared it prior to its deletion have all had their shares disappear from their pages.
The preview photo banned by facebook.
Presuming the original post was reported by some prudes (despite having a “safe” preview pic), shame on facebook for not even letting us know of the removal.
I didn’t have to presume for long. As I submitted another post on the Free Keene page on facebook explaining what happened, an error popped up:
The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe:
Please remove this link to continue.
So yeah, that confirms it. Facebook sent the censored preview photo to a blacklist of some sort, so one can still share the original article’s link on facebook, but no preview pic will come up.
Should you wish to share the story again on facebook, here’s what you have to do to make it a little tougher for the prudes to attack:
- Create a photo post on your facebook page.
- Upload the censored-for-facebook version of a pic of some ladies at the first Free the Nipple beach event from 2015. (Or, if you want to take a greater risk, you can upload the uncensored version.)
- Then, once the pic is uploaded – type in whatever you want for the post, and drop in the link to the article.
Facebook never should have blacklisted the already-censored preview pic – it’s been posted countless times before and does not show any areola. I specifically made that version with facebook in mind, which should be obvious given the graphic used to censor. The pic in question has been attached to other articles that have been shared a lot on facebook, so WTF? If you try to share the link to the pic via a facebook post, it does give you a link to report their decision as wrong, which I did, and you are welcome to do as well. I have no idea if it will make a difference.
Thanks for sharing the good news about the first step towards total defeat for the awful proposed prohibition on female toplessness. Special thanks if you share it again in the way I describe above!
Free the Nipple, Hampton Beach 2015
Sparked by last year’s “Free the Nipple” protests, some prudish state representatives filed legislation that would make it a misdemeanor for women to be topless anywhere in New Hampshire. (They did make an exception for breast-feeding.) A topless lady would be facing up to a year in jail, were this terrible legislation to pass. Men would still be allowed to be topless under the discriminatory bill, HB 1525.
Thankfully, the bill is nearly dead thanks to a unanimous vote to kill it by the NH house criminal justice committee. The committee voted today 18-0 to “ITL” (Inexpedient to Legislate) the legislation. The bill is not yet off the table – that will happen later when the full house votes on it.
Liberty rep John A. Burt put forth the motion to ITL the bill and also wrote the majority “blurb” for the house calendar along with Free State Project early mover and state representative Amanda Bouldin. (Amanda previously had made headlines for defending topless freedom from attack by the prudish reps who proposed the topless ban.) Here’s the text of Burt and Bouldin’s blurb:
This bill expands the indecent exposure law to include the anus (regardless of gender) as well as the nipple and areola (only if female). The committee heard testimony from many who warned that, due to likely acts of civil disobedience, the state would face expensive court fees should this become law. The NHCLU testified that violation of such a law could be considered protected political speech, indicating that the state would be unsuccessful in litigation. The committee sees no sense in passing a law that cannot be enforced.
The committee also believes that this bill violates Art. 2 of the State Constitution, which states that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.” This bill attempts to apply a law to women only. This bill would also place police officers in the uncomfortable position of having to determine the gender of a potential offender. Lastly, an offender (if convicted) would be listed in the state’s sex offender registry after a second conviction, which many considered to be an excessive punishment.
In a state with a nippy average temperature of only 46 degrees, the risk of rampant nudity seems rather low. The committee considers this legislation inexpedient to legislate for these reasons.
Today is a decisive loss for the prudes. To them I say leave topless women alone – your kids will be fine. If you don’t like seeing female areola, then advocate all public property be abolished and turned private. Then you can have a private beach just for people who want to keep their clothes on.
Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on Free the Nipple NH.
In the Summer of 2015, Heidi Lilley and B. Liz MacKinnon were ticketed on Gilford beach in alleged violation of the town’s ordinances. In late December, they went to trial at Laconia district court and Free State Project early mover and attorney Dan Hynes put on an excellent defense. Judge James M. Carroll took the case under advisement and has now issued his six-page order: both cases are dismissed!
Free the Nipple, Hampton Beach 2015
Don’t get too excited. If you read the order, you’ll find that Judge Carroll is no hero of constitutional rights or equality. Page three of his order ridiculously cites the private Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings system as evidence of a supposed “societal desire” to regulate female toplessness. Carroll argues that because the state’s three prudish witnesses (the three snitches) don’t appreciate female toplessness and because the town gave notice of the existence of the ordinance, that somehow means the town ordinance doesn’t violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution or Article 1 of the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
Given that Article 1 only mentions men when it says, “All men are born equally free and independent”, is it Judge Carroll’s opinion that only men were born free and that women can be told what to wear, for the good of “society”? He’s not foolish enough to come right out and say that, but his order does make excuse after outrageous excuse for the town’s ordinance, claiming it’s constitutionally sound:
The township’s compelling interest is met in maintaining the beach as a natural resource to be enjoyed by young and old , men and women, families and single persons while preserving appropriate standards that allow the township to maintain their local values and mores…The Court does not find that the prohibition violates any constitutionally protected right…the movement “does not have ‘a right to impose one’s lifestyle on other who have an equal right to be left alone.
So, if the social mores were that all women must wear burqas, because seeing any skin at all bothered people, it sounds like Carroll would consider that mandate constitutional as well.
Topless Tuesday, Keene’s Central Square, 2010
Though Carroll defends the right to marry either gender, he says that such marriage is a protected right, while toplessness is not. On the final page, he claims the toplessness in this case had no artistic value, while on page three he acknowledges the female nipple “has been the subject of great beauty in art”. Apparently Carroll is an art critic now, too.
Ultimately, Carroll decides the case in the favor of the defendants, but not on the excellent constitutional or equal protection arguments made by attorney Hynes, but simply on a technicality of the system: (more…)
State Representative Amanda Bouldin, Founder of Shire Sharing
What started as a rude facebook post on Tuesday by a supposedly “A+” rated state rep named Josh Moore, became a media firestorm of support for Free State Project early mover and “A+” rated Manchester state rep Amanda Bouldin, who defended topless freedom against Moore’s attacks. Bouldin is also known for creating Shire Sharing, a charity that feeds hundreds of NH families in need each year at Thanksgiving.
Despite being highly rated by the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, Moore is the co-sponsor of discriminatory, anti-freedom legislation, HB-1525FN that would criminalize female toplessness across New Hampshire. On Tuesday, Bouldin took to her Facebook page with a response, pointing out that all the sponsors of the proposal are male republicans, calling them out on their hypocrisy, in that they claim to supposedly support smaller government, but in this case they are advocating for its expansion.
In response, Moore comments:
“I’ll see you on the house floor. I have obviously have more respect for a women and her innocence and decency than than women who are support public nudity.” – State Representative Josh Moore
State Representative Josh Moore
He later added, then deleted:
“Who doesn’t support a mothers right to feed? Don’t give me the liberal talking points Amanda. If it’s a woman’s natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, than you should have no problem with a mans to stare at it and grab it. After all, it’s ALL relative and natural, right?” – State Representative Josh Moore
Does Moore really believe that a woman going topless justifies a man committing assault and grabbing it? It’s hysteria like this that needs to end. They are breasts. Men and women both have them – it’s a basic human liberty to be as clothed as one wishes on your own, or public property.
Moore and his cohort, state representative Al Baldasaro were subsequently eviscerated on Amanda’s facebook thread, by countless libertarians. During the process, Baldasaro weighed in with another rude quip:
“No disrespect, but your nipple would be the last one I would want to see. You want to turn our family beach’s into a pervert show.” – State Representative Al Baldasaro
(All spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors by Moore and Baldasaro were left intact.)
Somewhere along the line, Slate published a piece featuring Moore and Baldasaro’s ridiculous support of oppressing topless freedom. That then led to several more major websites picking up the story. Here’s a quick rundown: