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Gay Pride Kilt Case to Appear in 9th Circuit

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on February 12, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A rather interesting case involving a "not compliant" leather-gladiator gay pride outfit will be marching itself to the Ninth Circuit in March. Will Walters' selective enforcement suit has already scandalized and inflamed the internet when it was revealed to the public in 2012.

Now, years later, the Ninth Circuit (appropriately located in San Francisco) will hear the merits of Walter's suit, LGBT news outlet FrontiersMedia reports.

So the question remains: thongs or leather butt-flaps?

Flappy Facts

At the time of the incident, Walters had just woken up and had been featured as one of those marching in the pride parade that had just taken place. His friend invited him to attend an after party festival.

Walters was still wearing his admittedly flamboyant black leather gladiator get-up with 12 squares of leather covering his groin and butt. He was accosted by Special Events Police Team Lt. David Nieslit who, it was later revealed, was fresh on the job and had made it a personal charge to bring pride into compliance with a rather archaic San Diego law, Municipal Code sec 56.53 (which requires rear ends to be covered). Walters was pushed to the ground, insulted, and forced to sit in a squad car as punishment.

Is This SFW??

Compare, if you will, some photos.

Consider Fig. 1 of Walters' outfit.

This was Walters' getup that supposedly was the cause of all the hubbub. By pride standards, it's arguable that this is rather run-of the mill. One of the issues, hilariously enough, was whether Walters' butt was in compliance with M.C. sec. 56.53. We guess ... kind of? Does side-butt-cheek count?

Now consider Fig. 2 of this girl's outfit.

Okay, now that's definitely not covering ... and that's entirely the point. The photo immediately above was used by Walters' lawyer to buttress the idea that the City and other named defendants selectively enforced the law against Walters even though people -- primarily girls -- at ComicCon or Over The Line who were wearing little more than dental floss somehow were given the pass. In those cases, butts were definitely not covered.

Ultimately, the core issues in this case are about speech and expression, but for now, Walters and his lawyer have decided to take the route of Equal Protection violation. Why, they ask, was Walter arrested when people at ComicCon who wore obviously much less, were not? Obviously, his lawyer argues, the existing law was used selectively to discriminate against gays.


Walters' case was dismissed by a lower court judge whom he described as "conservative." He suspects a political "God Police" motive behind his arrest.

Meanwhile, the SDPD ensured their own compliance with Municipal Code 5653 by covering their own tails and apologizing profusely. Since he's a stand up sort of guy, he didn't name the SDPD in his suit. So far the City, the officer who accosted him, and several other individuals have been named as defendants.

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