WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A women’s rights group is petitioning the Obama administration to nationally recognize the right for women to go out in public topless.

GoTopless wants President Obama to help celebrate GoTopless Day on Aug. 26, which coincides with Women’s Equality Day.

“Any state or local law making it illegal for a woman to go topless is unconstitutional, but most people don’t know that,” Nadine Gary, president of GoTopless, said in a statement. “That’s why we’re taking the issue of topless rights to the top by demanding the president’s attention to this issue. A woman’s right to go topless falls under the 14th Amendment’s gender equality provision, and nobody knows that better than President Obama. He taught constitutional law.”

In an open letter to the president, Lara Terstenjak, the organization’s director, wonders why Obama can go shirtless at a beach while it would be illegal for a woman to do so.

“A few years ago, while you were vacationing in Hawaii, a topless picture of you appeared in the media. Mr. President, how would you like being legally forced to hide your chest on a nice, warm beach day?” Terstenjak said in the letter. “According to the Constitution, this is what will need to happen if U.S. laws refuse to acknowledge a woman’s right to freely go topless in public. Gender equality means ‘all or none.’”

Since filing the petition Tuesday on the White House’s website, GoTopless has nearly 336 signatures. The group is hoping for 25,000 signatures to reach its goal.

“Annual protests will be held until equal rights to be bare-chested are enforced,” the petition states.

According to the organization’s press release, GoTopless was founded in 2007 by Rael, spiritual leader of the International Raelian Movement, after following a case when a New York City woman who was arrested for being topless successfully sued for being wrongfully arrested.


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