CONCORD, N.H. - Lawmakers backing a New Hampshire bill to criminalize women exposing their breasts in public say that failing to pass it could hurt the state's tourism industry and lead to rampant nudity.
Reps. Brian Gallagher and Peter Spanos are co-sponsors of legislation that would make it a misdemeanor for women to show their breasts or nipples in public with "reckless disregard" for whether it would offend someone. It's partly a response to a "Free the Nipple" movement that led to two women being cited for going topless at a Gilford beach.
Heidi Lilley, 54, said she wanted to prove the Gilford ordinance is unconstitutional and that women should be allowed to expose their upper bodies. Lilley and 28-year-old Barbara MacKinnon were ticketed on Sept. 6 of last year for their lack of shirts.
The new "Nipple Bill" also caused an online spat among several state legislators that drew national attention.
Backers say families and children shouldn't be exposed to women's bare breasts in public. Opponents say it violates the constitution by creating different standards for women and men.
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