Judge rules Springfield can prohibit women’s exposed nipples

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _ A federal judge says Springfield can continue to prohibit women from showing their nipples in public.

U.S. District Court Judge Beth Phillips ruled Wednesday that the city’s current public indecency ordinance didn’t violate the Constitution by allowing men, but now women, to show their nipples.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued when the city council expanded an indecency ordinance in 2015 after topless rallies were held in downtown Springfield. Although the council later repealed the more restrictive ordinance, the ACLU asked the court to rule on whether the city could require women to cover their nipples in public.

The Springfield News-Leader reports Phillips ruled prohibiting women’s bare nipples in public promotes decency, which is an important government objective.

The ACLU said it is discussing whether to appeal the judge’s ruling.