The Cambria Hotel in Ocean City is in the final construction phase. A bayside boardwalk will help attract visitors to that side of the island. Salisbury Daily Times
OCEAN CITY, Md. — The saga surrounding the legality of Ocean City’s topless ban will continue on after an appeal has been filed in the case.
In April a federal judge sided with the beach resort saying its ordinance that bans women from being topless in public is legal. The decision denied the plaintiff’s claims that it was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
The plaintiffs, including Chelsea Eline, have filed an appeal saying the court shouldn’t have allowed Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and Council President Mary Knight to testify or serve as “expert witnesses,” according to court documents.
“Neither Mayor Meehan nor Council Member Knight are qualified to render expert opinions regarding the public’s moral sensibilities,” according to a brief filed by the plaintiffs. “Moreover, their opinions did not result from properly recorded data, a survey or questionnaire, reliable scientific methodology or consultation with an expert.”
The plaintiffs also say the court “abused its discretion” in deciding to exclude the testimony of Debby Herbenick, a professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health, who the plaintiffs were using as an expert.
The lawsuit questions the legality of a 2017 town ordinance that banned only women, not men, from exposing their breasts in public. The ordinance was passed after Eline expressed her intention to “go topless” in Ocean City back in August 2016.
Ocean City has argued in court that the town’s rule is meant to protect “public sensibilities” of its residents and visitors. Eline and five other women argue that the ban is a violation of their constitutional rights.
A new court date for the appeal doesn’t appear to have been scheduled as of Friday, July 17, according to court documents.
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