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Ocean City being sued over its rule banning topless women

OCEAN CITY, MD. — Ocean City's ordinance prohibiting topless women in public is being challenged by a lawsuit.

The Daily Times reports the suit filed Tuesday by five women in federal court includes Ocean City and several officials as defendants. Officials had unanimously passed the ordinance during an emergency session in June after the beach patrol said lifeguards would no longer approach and scold women who are topless.

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Chelsea Eline, one of the plaintiffs, had used the pseudonym Covington to contact the beach patrol in 2016. She believed it was her right to appear topless in public like men.

Eline's lawyer, Devon Jacob, said Wednesday the ordinance violates an equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Women who sunbathe topless in Ocean City used to get a scolding from beach patrol officers, but that has changed.

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