The ACLU of Virginia today filed a lawsuit in federal court in Richmond challenging the constitutionality of a new Virginia law that bans juvenile nudist camps. Passed by the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year, the law takes effect on July 1.
The ACLU is seeking a preliminary injunction from the court to prevent the state from blocking a juvenile camp planned for July 24-31 at White Tail Park, a nudist resort in Ivor, Virginia. A similar camp held last summer prompted Delegate Jack Reid to introduce the camp-banning legislation. Reid’s bill passed the Senate unanimously and the House by a 98-2 margin. The Governor released a pun-filled statement of his support for the bill when he signed it.
“This has to be one of the most uninformed pieces of legislation ever to pass the Virginia General Assembly,” said ACLU of Virginia executive director Kent Willis. “Teen nudist camps in other parts of the country have operated for years without incident, and there were no problems with the gathering in Ivor last year. Yet solely because they were personally ill at ease with the concept, legislators wiped out what is by all accounts a wholesome, carefully controlled, parent-approved activity for young people in Virginia.”
The teen nudist camp in Ivor is heavily supervised by carefully screened adults. White Tail Park operates under strict rules that prohibit “intimate contact, suggestive behavior, overt sexuality or sexually provocative behavior.”
“Legislators overreacted,” added Willis, “and in the process, they substantially interfered with the right of families to make lifestyle choices. Using the logic of this law, legislators are now free to prevent children from swimming, playing baseball, or riding a bus.”
The ACLU asserts that the Virginia law violates the constitutional rights of privacy and association, and the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. The law does not prevent minors from attending nudist camps, but requires their parents or legal guardians to be present when they do.
Three families, including parents and their minor children, are plaintiffs in the case, along with White Tail Park and the American Association for Nude Recreation-Eastern Region. The children all intend to participate in this year’s camp.
The case is White Tail Park v. Robert B. Stroube. (Stroube is head of the Virginia State Health Commission, which oversees private camps in Virginia.) Lawyers for the plaintiffs are ACLU of Virginia legal director Rebecca K. Glenberg and Richmond practitioner Frank M. Feibelman. Electronic copies of the papers filed in court today are available by contacting the ACLU at the number below or by sending an email to acluva@acluva.org.

Contacts: Kent Willis, Executive Director, ACLU of Virginia, 804-644-8022 Rebecca Glenberg, Legal Director, ACLU of Virginia, 804-644-8022

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