Concord — Lawmakers backing a bill to criminalize women exposing their breasts in public warned Monday that failing to pass it could hurt New Hampshire's tourism industry and lead to rampant nudity across the state.
"It's a shame that some folks are more concerned with exposing their breasts in public places than they are concerned about how families and children may be impacted by being forced to experience this evolving societal behavior," Rep. Brian Gallagher told a legislative committee. "This is about a movement to change the values of New Hampshire society."
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Gallagher is a sponsor 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 local beach last year. The bill also caused an online spat among several state legislators that drew national attention after a male lawmaker said if women want to show their breasts in public they should be OK with men wanting to "grab" them.
Opponents charge the ban violates the constitution by creating different standards for men and women.