NAC Advisory
Topeka Kansas
Anti-nudity ordinance

October 13, 2005

Ordinance textCouncil meeting agenda, 10/11/05 |  Council meeting minutes (coming Oct 19, 2005)
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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
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DATE:    October 13, 2005
SUBJECT: Victory in Topeka, Kansas
TO:      All Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) is pleased to make you aware of a significant local victory for naturists. A proposed anti-nudity municipal ordinance has been killed in Topeka, Kansas.

NAC worked closely with Topeka naturists and played an important supporting role in the successful effort to stop the proposed local law. The city councilman who sponsored the measure had predicted easy passage. Instead, he discovered that none of his fellow council members would even offer a second to his motion to consider the ordinance at the regular Tuesday evening meeting of the council on October 11, 2005.


This is an informational advisory. NAC is not requesting that you take action at the present time.


The Lake Edun Foundation operates a naturist retreat on leased land located on the outskirts of Topeka. A small contingent of locals opposes the notion of nudity on the secluded property and has sought for years to shut down the 60-acre facility with its 10-acre lake. Opponents of nudity at Lake Edun have pushed Shawnee County for selective zoning enforcement and even forced introduction of a Kansas legislative bill in 2000 that would have eliminated "nudist camps, clubs or buildings" throughout the entire state. That bill (House Bill 2726) was strongly opposed by NAC and others, and it failed to move out of committee.

For details of the successful effort to kill HB 2726 in the 2000 Kansas legislature, see "Success Stories" on the NAC web site: 2000_hb_2726.html


Going through all the required channels, Lake Edun recently reserved the Hussey Playhouse at the downtown Topeka Performing Arts Center (TPAC) for the presentation of a tetralogy of one-act plays that incorporated nudity and the concept of body acceptance. The plays ran for two consecutive weekends, beginning on September 24. Production of the plays was assisted by a grant from the Naturist Education Foundation (NEF).

Protesters from two groups marched outside the theater. Picketers from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property were joined by a group from Topeka's infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Meanwhile, attendance inside was good, exceeding two-thirds of the capacity of the theater by closing night. Despite the picketing, local reaction to the plays seemed mostly confined to a few agitated calls to the interim director of the Playhouse. For Topeka, which is in the heart of the heartland, and which had not seen a theatrical performance that incorporated nudity since 1977, the relatively low level of public outcry was actually quite remarkable.

Nevertheless, Topeka City Councilmember Brett Blackburn said he had heard complaints, and he filed a proposed municipal ordinance to make mere nudity illegal in public places and in many instances, on private property - including residential back yards. Interesting, the city attorney observed that the ordinance probably wouldn't apply to theatrical performances like the recent one at the Performing Arts Center. Lake Edun itself remains outside the Topeka city limits and would not have been affected.


The Naturist Action Committee worked closely with Webb Garlinghouse of Lake Edun to oppose the ordinance. A crucial element of the strategy was already in place. Garlinghouse and his wife Julie were well known to the community and to members of the Topeka city council as naturists who will stand up for themselves and their rights. The importance of working locally and proactively before the time of a conflict cannot be overemphasized.

NAC advised Webb Garlinghouse on the tone of his presentation to the council and suggested specific items for inclusion. NAC and Garlinghouse conferred on options, alternatives and the requirements for dealing with local media, regardless of the outcome of the council vote.

Additionally, the Naturist Action Committee sent NAC Area Representative David Bitters to Topeka to address the city council directly.


Lake Edun's Webb Garlinghouse and NAC's Dave Bitters both addressed the Topeka City Council on Tuesday evening. Each presented compelling arguments against the proposed ordinance. Specifically, they pointed out that the proposed measure was unnecessary and represented a further erosion of personal freedoms. Neither naturist speaker asked for an exemption for nudist facilities.

Following the remarks of the naturists, Councilman Blackburn made a motion for formal council consideration of the ordinance. To Blackburn's astonishment and horror, the motion died for lack of a second.

NAC is pleased to be able to say that the
wicked ordinance is "morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead."


This is an Advisory. NAC is not asking you to take specific action at this time. Please watch for NAC Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates.

More generally, NAC notes that the events in Topeka present a model for local preparedness and aggressive activism among naturists. The admonition that "all politics is local" has never been more true.


Additional information about the victory in Topeka, including the full text of the proposed ordinance, is available online at the web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

On the main page, click on "Alerts, Advisories and Updates." Click on "VIEW CURRENT" and then select this Advisory. Follow the links to more information.


The Naturist Action Committee is a volunteer nonprofit organization that exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. Protecting freedom is expensive, and unlike other organizations, NAC has no membership roster on which to assess dues. NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you.

To donate to NAC online with your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card, go to:

Or you can use the address below, or call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone.

  PO Box 132
  Oshkosh, WI 54903

Thank you for choosing to make a difference!


Bob Morton
Chairman & Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       - <>
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  - <>

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