According to a February 2019 decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment means that a woman may go topless in any place that a man may go topless.
This earlier court ruling was the basis of Effie Krokos' argument when she was ticketed—months after the decision—for being topless in her fiancé's front yard in Loveland, Colorado.
That argument ultimately won the 20 year-old community college student a $50,000 settlement from the city for the way the officer who wrote the ticket mishandled the situation.
The situation started when Krokos and her fiancée were playing Frisbee in his front yard. The day was quite warm and, when he began to overheat, Krokos' fiancé removed his shirt.
After seeing this, Krokos thought it would be a good way for her to cool down as well.
"I was like, 'Oh it's hot, he's shirtless, why not go for it?"
"I just kind of took off my shirt, without thinking, 'cause I knew about the code in the back of my mind but I was kind of afraid."
A neighbor was apparently quite bothered by this, though, as police showed up hours later with a summons.
When she explained the recent decision of the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to Officer Greg Harris in a recorded conversation, he was loathe to believe her. He did admit to having heard "rumor" of the court's ruling, but wouldn't accept Krokos' word.
"I've heard rumor of it in Fort Collins but that was it. But not throughout the state."
"We had training just recently on legal updates, none of this was brought up. So none of this in my eyes is valid. OK?"
Krokos told CBS Denver:
"He said it's a rumor in Fort Collins and Loveland has not told them of this law."
Krokos' first reaction was panic.
"I freaked because I know that if this is a charge that is going to be put on my record, there goes my degree. There goes all the months I spend in school. There goes everything. It's gone. I panicked."
"Like I honestly, I was shaking 'cause I was like, this is not okay and I was reciting the 10th Circuit Court ruling to him. I was telling him over and over and over trying to get him to like maybe let me off with a warning but he wouldn't listen."
Despite her best efforts to fight the citation, including filing an official complaint, Krokos was still issued a summons to appear in court. She said no local attorneys would take her case; none wanted to fight the city.
Krokos' ethics instructor recommended that she contact the ACLU, along with attorney David Lane.
"I looked into it and I messaged David and his firm. I messaged them, shot in the dark. Couple days later, I get a message saying, 'We got this. Don't worry about anything, we got it'."
Once she retained legal counsel, the city of Loveland suddenly wanted to let the charge drop, but Krokos decided to continue the fight.
"The City of Loveland called me and was like, 'Oh, let's talk about this complaint, let's figure things out.'"
"It's a little too late and they did admit fault in some sense, like 'Yeah we guess that the constitution casts doubt on this municipal code so I guess we'll just let it go' but that wasn't enough for me."
Krokos' struggle still isn't over, even though the matter has now been settled with the city.
She regularly receives threats and harassment.
"I've gotten lots of threatening messages like, 'You liberal scum' and you know, all these other threatening messages, like 'Where do you live so I can take pictures of you?'"
She had a word of advice for anyone in a similar situation.
"Just fight. If you fight, chances are you are going to make some kind of difference you are going to do something for your community, for yourself and it's better to fight than to just take it laying down because there's probably other women who have had a similar experience."
Krokos' interview with CBS Denver can be viewed below.
Woman Cited For Going Topless In Loveland Wins Settlement youtu.be
Krokos has decided not to let the threats get to her either.
She recently decided to lay in the yard topless and was pleasantly surprised thst no police turned up.
"I'm not going to be the type of person that's going to walk down main street Loveland and be like, 'Look at me!'"
She will, however, go topless to cool off on her or her fiancé's private property if she feels like it.
Just like any other person in Loveland is free to do.