French court bans burkinis, doesn’t block city that allows topless women in public swimming areas

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France’s highest court ruled Tuesday against “burkinis” at public swimming facilities, but failed to act against public toplessness for women.

The French Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, ruled that allowing burkini swimwear – a modest full-length swimsuit worn by muslim women – would violate the secular government of the country and the laws against religious influence.

Not long after the ban was lifted, it was reinstated by the Grenoble Administrative Court. The decision of the Council of State on the matter has been awaited for weeks. the burkini had previously been legalized by the city of Grenoble in May 2021, along with topless swimming, following protests from residents.

The Council of State overturned lower court rulings that allowed the burkini, saying that the garment’s religious nature and implications for women’s rights make it unsuitable for public swimming pools.

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Algerian women wear a "burkinia" in the sea on the beach of Oran, west of Algiers on Aug 5, 2017.

Algerian women wear a “burkini” in the sea on Oran Beach, west of Algiers on August 5, 2017.
(Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Muslim woman wears a burkini as she enjoys the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico at San Marco Beach on Marco Island, Florida, on September 1, 2018.

Muslim woman wears a burkini as she enjoys the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico at San Marco Beach on Marco Island, Florida, on September 1, 2018.
(Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)

France, the birthplace of the bikinihas struggled with its standards for women’s swimwear for years.

In 2016, the swimsuits became controversial after an Islamist extremist attack on the city of Nice, France. Cities began to ban the burkini, and police officers fined Muslim women who wore them and refused to take off some of their clothes or leave the beach.

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Mayor Eric Piolle of Grenoble (L), of the French ecologist party EELV, is chairing next to his first deputy Elisa Martin (C), a council meeting that wants to remove the dress code for bathing in municipal swimming pools and thus authorizing the wearing of the "burkinia" all-in-one swimsuit for women, on May 16, 2022 in Grenoble.  (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

Mayor Eric Piolle of Grenoble (L), of the French ecologist party EELV, is chairing next to his first deputy Elisa Martin (C), a council meeting that wants to remove the dress code for bathing in municipal swimming pools and thus authorizing the wearing of the “burkini” all-in-one swimsuit for women, on May 16, 2022 in Grenoble. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

France is not alone in the growing conversation about swimwear and the lack thereof. Nude laws banning topless women on the beach have been challenged and sometimes overturned in the United States.

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A Nantucket, Massachusetts proposal titled “Gender Equality on the Beach,” allowing anyone to go topless on the beach, was passed at the annual city meeting last month.

The amendment read: “To promote equality for all persons, everyone may be topless on any public or private beach” in the city.”

The articles of association, suggested by Dorothy Stover, a seventh-generation Nantucket resident, was passed by the Gender Equality on Beaches by 327-242 votes, according to WCVB. The next step is that the measure is now approved by the public prosecutor.

Fox News’ Haley Chi-Sing and The New York Post contributed to this report.

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