Florida Court Prohibits State from Blocking Protest Involving 'Living Nude Peace Symbol'

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
February 13, 2003 12:00 am

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL — In a court order issued late today, a U.S. District Court Judge here prohibited Florida officials from blocking an anti-war demonstration in a state park tomorrow that involves the creation of a peace symbol comprised of nude bodies.

“The image that will be conveyed tomorrow is not mere nudity, but political protest against the government’s plans for war,” said Randall Marshall, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which filed court papers in this case. “For these demonstrators, nudity is an essential part of their political expression.”

The ACLU of Florida went to court on behalf of T.A. Wyner, a Fort Piece naturist who will choreograph the nude demonstration involving the creation of a peace symbol, and George T. Simon, a videographer who plans to attend the event. Organizers intend to have the nude peace symbol documented by photographs and artistic sketches.

In an 11-page order saying that the protest can proceed without interference, Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks said that “nude, overtly political speech in the form of a ‘living, nude peace symbol’ is expressive conduct well within the ambit of the First Amendment.”

The court also ruled that the state would be free to erect signs notifying the public that the nude demonstration would be taking place, or as they have done in the past, erect screens around the demonstration.

The nude demonstration is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on February 14 at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park on Singer Island in Palm Beach County.

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