Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge is considering San Francisco's new law that bans public nudity.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen will hear arguments in his San Francisco federal courtroom Thursday afternoon. Activists are requesting the judge block the law from going into effect on Feb. 1. They argue the ban violates their freedom of expression rights. They also argue the law violates equal protection rights because it exempts children younger than five and public nudity at certain events such as the Gay Pride Parade and the annual Bay-to-Breakers foot race.

Attorneys representing the city counter that the ban is a matter of public health, safety and the "general welfare" of all residents. The ban is to take effect Feb. 1 and requires the covering of genitals and rears while in public places.

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