After 'Guidance From The Oklahoma Attorney General,' City of Tulsa Changes Stance On Topless Court Ruling
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - After Oklahoma's Attorney General disagreed with a new court ruling that allows women to be topless in public, the City of Tulsa changed their stance on the ruling over the course of a day.
The ruling was made by the federal 10th circuit court of appeals which includes Oklahoma and five other states.
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The City of Tulsa and the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office previously said the ruling applies locally, although Attorney General Mike Hunter, says it does not.
Based on Tulsa's previous interpretation of the 10th circuit court ruling, a few women decided to skate in River Parks topless Sunday evening, surrounded by dozens of spectators and a few protestors. The women who organized the event, believe women have the same constitutional right as men - to have the right to be bare-chested in public.
"All chests, all nipples, all colors, I want everyone to feel free and happy in their body when they're skating and trying to have a good time," said Jaq Taylor, the organizer of the skate rally.
After Tulsa Police met with city attorneys last week, they said they would not be arresting women for topless nudity in public places like streets, sidewalks, public parks and public swimming pools.
"So, if we in law enforcement, see you walking down the street, without your shirt on, we are just going to keep going," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Jillian Phippen.
Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado made this statement:
“Although I respectfully disagree with the 10th Circuit’s decision, it is the highest court in the land next to the United States Supreme court. It governs the laws of the state of Oklahoma. The court has ruled that this decision is based upon the 14th amendment, which provides for equal protection under the law. Therefore, we acknowledge the court’s decision and will continue to abide by the laws set forth by the Constitution of the United States."
The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said the ruling allowed women to be topless at the fair since it's public, but schools told us they would enforce their dress code, not only in school buildings, but also sporting events.
Over the weekend, State Representative Jim Olsen posted the ruling did not apply to Oklahoma saying that the Oklahoma legislature had no part in the decision and that a state court case would have to be started by an Oklahoma citizen.
On Monday, Mike Hunter released a statement saying that he disagrees with Tulsa's interpretation:
"The Tenth Circuit’s preliminary decision in the Fort Collins case, a case that has now ended without a full adjudication, does not change local and state laws in Oklahoma on the subject. The majority of courts around the country that have examined this issue have upheld traditional public decency and public nudity laws. These courts have recognized that states and political subdivisions have a legitimate interest in prohibiting public nudity as traditionally defined."
The City of Tulsa released this statement as well:
“The City of Tulsa continues to review the impact of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit case. As it stands today, the City of Ft. Collins did not appeal the Tenth Circuit ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. As such, the ruling stands and will be used to measure the legality of laws and ordinances in the states and cities which comprise the Tenth Circuit, including Oklahoma and Tulsa.”
However, after "guidance from the Oklahoma attorney general," the City of Tulsa released this statement a short time later:
“Upon further deliberations and based on guidance from the Oklahoma Attorney General, the City of Tulsa will continue to enforce state law.”