NANTUCKET, Mass. (WPRI) — Attorney General Maura Healey has approved a bylaw that will allow anyone to go topless on any public or private beach.
Residents approved the measure in May, but Healey’s endorsement was required for it to become law.
The measure is called “Gender Equality on Beaches” and it 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 within the town of Nantucket.”
The current state law says only men can go topless in public and women can face a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $300 if they do so.
Dorothy Stover, the woman who drafted the measure, called it “top freedom” for all genders.
“We discern no conflict between the vote and the Constitution or laws of the Commonwealth,” Healey wrote in her decision. “The Town has the authority to choose what activities it will allow on town beaches, and we must approve any by-law reflecting such choice unless the by-law poses a clear conflict with the Constitution or laws of the Commonwealth, which Article 71 does not.”
Healey’s letter says the bylaw doesn’t take effect unless the town has satisfied posting and publishing requirements.
“Once this statutory duty is fulfilled, general bylaws and amendments take effect on the date these posting and publishing requirements are satisfied unless a later effective date is prescribed in the bylaw,” the letter said.
The town’s website says the measure is specific to beaches, and not parking lots, concession areas or playgrounds that are separated from a beach.