Mammary madness

"Breasts Not Bombs" activists were arrested yesterday in Sacramento and may be charged as sex offenders.

Published November 8, 2005 3:24PM (EST)

According to a report in today's Los Angeles Times, topless activists from the organization Breasts Not Bombs were arrested yesterday at the State Capitol in Sacramento while protesting several Arnold Schwarzenegger-sponsored initiatives on the ballot today. "We have done these demonstrations from San Francisco to Mendocino to the gates of the White House and never been restrained in this way," Breasts Not Bombs member Sherry Glaser told 100 onlookers, before peeling off her top. Another activist, Renee Love, was also arrested for going topless. The Times reported that the women were charged with "indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and going beyond the scope of their permit to demonstrate on state property." Last Friday a federal judge refused BNB's request to block the police from arresting topless protesters.

Unbelievably, it seems Glaser and Love got off easy -- the California Highway Patrol has threatened to prosecute the protesters as sex offenders, which would mean their names would show up on a registry alongside those of hardened criminals. What, exactly, does the CHP have against boobs? Why would peaceful protesters be treated like pedophiles? One politician, at least, is defending the breasts. State Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) joined the protesters and announced that she would introduce legislation that would decriminalize breast baring in public. "While it is legal for men to go shirtless in public in California," she said, "women risk being classified as sex offenders for baring the same body parts."

Romero kept her shirt on during the speech.

By Lori Leibovich

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

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