Raleigh, N.C. — A House bill filed Thursday aims to clarify North Carolina's indecent exposure law by clarifying that it is illegal for women to bare their breasts in public.
Specifically, the bill adds to the definition of "private parts" that may not be shown in public the "nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast."
Rep. Rayne Brown, R-Davidson, said that is already the law of the state. However, recent court decisions and confusion among law enforcement agencies lead her to file the bill.
"It should not be controversial," she said. It would not, for example, affect how men's magazines are displayed in stores or how strip clubs operate.
Rather, she said, it was aimed at events like an annual topless rally in Asheville. That's not in her district, but Brown said she has gotten complaints.
So has Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, who does represent the small, western city.
"The Asheville City Council has been really unable to address it because the lines of authority on what they could prohibit were just not that clear," Moffitt said. Of the festival, which brings topless women into the street for one day in August, Moffitt said, "It's disruptive. "We have a very diverse culture there. But this has not been in keeping with the wholesome, diverse culture we have."