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Gilford Woman To Fight $25 Topless Citation In Court

Emily Corwin for NHPR
A crowd of protesters went topless at Hampton beach on “National Go Topless Day” in August. Heidi Lilley is on the far left.";s:

A Gilford woman facing a $25 dollar fine for going topless at a beach in her hometown is heading to trial to fight it. She says her goal is to prove that ordinances banning female toplessness violate women’s civil rights.

And this isn’t the first time Heidi Lilley has gone topless on the beach.

Toplessness is legal for men and women under state law. Gilford and Laconia, however, have local ordinances banning female toplessness. And Lilley is set on changing the culture around women’s bodies by going topless wherever men do.

Last month, police in Gilford gave Lilley a citation which comes with a $25 fine. On Tuesday, Lilley pleaded not guilty. She says she was expecting the prosecutor to drop the charges. Instead, Lilley is heading to trial.

“We’re hoping we can go before a judge and our lawyer can argue that it is unconstitutional,” she says.

The trial is set for December 15 in Laconia.

Manchester attorney Dan Hynes will represent Lilley pro-bono on the grounds of freedom of expression and equal protection. If she is found guilty in December, Hynes says he will appeal to the state supreme court. A decision there would be binding for all municipalities in New Hampshire.

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