March 16, 2011
Re: Public comments on SJR-28
My name is Susan Weaver, and I am president of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). Our Association is widely recognized as the credible voice for nude recreation, representing over 200,000 individuals and 267 clubs, campgrounds and resorts throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean Islands. An important part of our AANR world is the nine Oregon AANR-affiliated nudist clubs as well as Association members who are not club affiliated, plus numerous unaffiliated nudists who utilize the two legal nude beaches, hot springs, and other unpopulated areas in Oregon.
It is our concern that the proposed amendment to the Bill of Rights to the Oregon Constitution, while not intended to do so, would inadvertently impact these clubs and citizens. As you know, Oregon currently has a very well-reasoned state constitution which goes further than the US Constitution in protecting individual rights and freedoms. Tampering with these fundamental protections is a dangerous step down a slippery slope that may well lead to losing other valuable freedoms. Moreover, it is certain to touch off expensive litigation—at taxpayer expense—to settle what the new constitutional language does, and does not, allow.
In Oregon’s long-lived atmosphere of personal freedom, our AANR clubs have flourished. These clubs are “organizations” and a good number of them are “businesses” chartered by AANR as well as registered with the Oregon Attorney General as not-for-profit corporations. This proposal would put them in the cross-hairs of any “state, county, municipality or district” elected or appointed representative that would choose to terminate the club or prosecute its members for offering “live entertainment or other services performed by a person in a state of nudity, as defined by the jurisdiction imposing the regulation.” As many members in our clubs perform karaoke, clean pools, mow lawns, weed, etc. without clothes, we feel that the proposal, as written, is overly broad and negatively impacts nudists and naturists in the state of Oregon.
In order for you to better understand the rights claimed by our members, let me share with you the “Nudists’ Bill of Rights” which I have reprinted here:
As law-abiding citizens who are friends of nudism, including many members of the American Association for Nude Recreation, we proudly affirm that we have and are entitled to exercise the following rights. These are self-evident and based on the Constitutions of the United States and Canada, the laws of those countries, and their court rulings.
- Nudists have the right to hold their values and beliefs.
- Nudists have the right to petition and be heard by their governments.
- Nudists have the right to responsibly enjoy nudity within their homes and on private property.
- Nudists have the right to exercise decision-making in the upbringing of their families in a manner consistent with their beliefs and without interference from others.
- Nudists have the right to assemble in the nude within appropriate settings.
- Nudists have the right to decisions about what constitutes acceptable nudity to be made free from considerations of age, gender, marital status, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.
- Nudists have the right to responsibly enjoy being nude within appropriate locations on public lands.
- Nudists have the right to be free from adverse actions by their employers as a result of their lawful enjoyment of nudity when away from work.
- Nudists have the right to experience accurate, life-affirming portrayals of the human body in all its stages as depicted in the performing arts, the fine arts, literature, and human history.
- Nudists have the right to be treated as law-abiding citizens.
Most of these rights would be invalidated in the state of Oregon by the passage of SJR-28. We believe that AANR nudist clubs, nude beaches and clothing optional hot springs offer the opportunity for healthy natural experiences that reflect respect for the human body. AANR and its regional corporation, AANR-Northwest, partner with SOLV, the Oregon state parks department and others to carry out state park and beach clean-ups as well as tree planting and the eradication of invasive plant species. A number of our clubs are affiliated with the local Chambers of Commerce.
Oregon nudists are law abiding citizens of Oregon and should be recognized as such rather than having a vaguely worded legislative language consign them to uncertainty.
Thank you for considering our position. I sincerely hope that you will reconsider the legislation entitled SJR-28 and reject it in its current format.
Susan Weaver, President American Association for Nude Recreation
Read more news about the Oregon bill here.
Sign or download the Nudists’ Bill of Rights here.