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What you need to know about Nantucket’s topless beach proposal

"In order to promote equality for all persons, any person shall be allowed to be topless on any public or private beach."

A proposed bylaw amendment would allow everyone to go topless on all Nantucket beaches. Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff


NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — A woman whose family has lived on Nantucket for seven generations wants to give everyone —regardless of gender — the right to take off their tops on the Massachusetts resort island’s beaches.

Dorothy Stover has proposed a bylaw amendment called “Gender Equality on Beaches” that will be taken up at a town meeting in May and reads in part: “In order to promote equality for all persons, any person shall be allowed to be topless on any public or private beach” in town.

She told the Cape Cod Times for a story Monday state law that only allows men to take off their tops in public “is really antiquated.”

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Stover, 40, hopes that allowing anyone who chooses to go topless on the beach will help people feel less insecure about their bodies.

Even if the measure passes at Town Meeting on May 2, it would not go into effect immediately, Town Clerk Nancy Holmes said.

All prospective bylaw changes must be approved by the state attorney general.

“I can’t see it being approved before September,” Holmes said.

There is also the possibility that the measure could pass and not be approved by the state, or require a change in the state’s open and gross lewdness laws.

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