Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kentucky's Nudist Society Act

Here's a real blast from the past. A Time magazine article dated July 15, 1966 - when Hector was just a pup - about how Kentucky's nudist society laws were overturned:

When police arrived, Kentucky Farmers Clarence and Benjamin Roe were holding family religious services in their unfenced backyard. Unfortunately, the assembled Roes of all ages and sexes were not wearing clothes. The Greenup Circuit Court fined Clarence and Ben jamin $1,000 apiece for violating Kentucky's Nudist Society Act, which required all nudist colonies to pay an annual license fee of $1,000, register all members, and segregate the premises with a solid masonry wall 20 ft. high. Unreasonable and unconstitutional, ruled Kentucky's highest court as it voided the Roes' convictions and stripped the nudist law from the books. Calling the wall "prohibitive" and the fee excessive, the court scoffed at the law's definition of a nudist as anyone found naked before "persons of the opposite sex, not his husband or wife, at their solicitation or with their consent, for religious or health purposes." Construed literally, ruled the court, the law would penalize even "a female patient who undergoes an examination by a male physician."

Problem is, two years later, they went back and rewrote the law to allow an exemption for medical professionals, and the flawed law has remained on the books in Kentucky ever since.

How does the state of Kentucky define "nudist"? I bet you've always wanted to know that, haven't you? Provider of Rare Services that I am, here's your answer.

Don't you just love the male-centric language of it? And how it fails to define what "any part of his private person" means? And how it leaves no allowances for nude modeling in the arts? This law reads like it was written half a century ago. Oh, wait, it was.

So, to this very day, you still have to have a license to operate a "nudist society" under these insanely vague definitions? That's right. And wait, it gets better: it specifically states that it makes no difference whether nudity is part of your religion or not (and it is part of several religious belief systems), you still have to get a license to take off your clothes in the private company of other like-minded individuals.

And exactly how does one apply for a license to take your damn pants off in the woods? You must petition the local county judge, who can turn you down based on your "character".

It's not at the top of my list of civil rights issues to crusade for, granted; but it is primitive, it is backward, and it is irksome on many levels.

1 comment:

Nicosia said...

But what about the exotic dancers?