Nantucket’s topless beaches bylaw approved by state
NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — A bylaw that allows anyone, regardless of gender, to go topless on Nantucket’s beaches has been approved by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office.
The Gender Equality on Beaches bylaw amendment passed 327-242 at the resort island’s town meeting in May, but the attorney general’s office had to review the measure to ensure that it did not conflict with the state constitution.
The town has the authority to choose what activities it allows on its beaches, the attorney general’s office wrote in its decision, made public Tuesday.
“We approve the Town’s vote authorizing any person to go topless on any public or private beach in Nantucket because we discern no conflict” with the constitution, the ruling said.
The bylaw was originally proposed by seventh-generation Nantucket resident Dorothy Stover.
“Really this is righting a wrong — catching up to what was already legal for men, allowing the space for all bodies to be topless,” Stover told WBZ-AM radio.
She had previously said her hope was to normalize bodies of all shapes and sizes and foster an environment of acceptance.
The bylaw’s approval also got the thumbs-up from a state lawmaker who represents the island.
“Nantucket beaches have been officially approved to allow both men AND women to go topless — a win for gender equity (& tan lines),” Rep. Dylan Fernandes tweeted.
The attorney general’s office also suggested further clarifying the bylaw so it has “a more definite scope.”
The town on its website said there would be an adjustment period.
“We ask everyone to be patient and respectful as the island adapts to this first-of-its-kind bylaw in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” the post said.
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