Posted: April 12, 2023

I’m pretty sure legislators didn’t have World Naked Gardening Day in mind when they decided to sow a bumper crop of new bills this year. But here we are facing a year where the growth of attacks on our nudist way of life is alarming.

The number of bills needing attention has grown exponentially this year. It’s the case in even numbered years we get a slew of new legislators who feel the need to make their mark by introducing what they see as important legislation. The problem is they frequently write broad legislation to address narrow issues. GAT’s goal is to point out how the bills’ language negatively impacts nudist venues, events, or desires.

Popular themes of restricting legislation never really say they are trying to impose their values on others, they are cloaked in titles that sound like they are upholding or broadening freedoms, or embellishing on popular themes.

Titles like “Think of the Children,” or “Parents Rights Protection Act”, along with changing text from “harmful to minors” (which has been in use in case law at least since the 1960s) to “not educationally suitable” is somewhat suspect. Much like the change from using the term “child pornography” to “child sex abuse materials”, we are leaving established precedent to come up with new vague terms that will need to either be defined in the new law, and then challenged in court to define what the new terms actually mean, rather than stick with the verbiage that has already passed muster.

The reason for this is clear. More oversight of private activities by whatever authority the laws designate as the enforcing agency, or in some cases the expansion of policing power to anyone who feels offended by an action whether it affects them or not. One such troubling bill is Arizona SB1698, legislation introduced at the end of January that newly defines “adult-oriented performance” to include simple nudity, and it criminalizes those who allow minors to remain where such is taking place. Simple nudity in Arizona being criminalized should be a call to arms for all nudists, not just those in Arizona. AANR needs its members fighting to show legislators we don’t want further intrusions on our right to assemble with like-minded nudists.

-Tim Mullins

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