- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2005

RICHMOND (AP) — An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer urged a federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit challenging a Virginia law that scuttled plans for a summer camp for teenage nudists.

U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams ruled in August that the lawsuit was moot because organizers of the camp in southeastern Virginia surrendered their state permit for the camp after the law took effect.

Rebecca Glenberg of the ACLU argued yesterday that Judge Williams erred, because the plaintiffs still want to conduct summer nudist camps for teens at White Tail Park in Ivor, Va., annually, starting this summer.

“Because of the statute, they can’t put on any nudist camp for juveniles,” Miss Glenberg told a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “That’s injury.”

The summer camp for children ages 11 through 17 was conducted in 2003 at White Tail Park. It was the first nudist camp for juveniles in Virginia and only the third in the country, according to its sponsors.

Virginia’s General Assembly found out about the camp and passed legislation requiring a parent, grandparent or legal guardian to accompany each participant to youth nudist camps.

The law took effect July 1, weeks before the scheduled 2004 camp. Miss Glenberg said the weeklong residential camp was canceled because only 11 of the 35 youths who signed up would have been able to bring a parent.

Miss Glenberg said the camp’s organizers wanted to create “a normal camp experience where children spend time with their peers and away from their parents.”

John Byrum of the state Attorney General’s Office said the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because “the Supreme Court has found that nudity is not a protected form of expression by itself.”

“There is no constitutional parental right to send your child to a juvenile nudist camp,” he added.

The ACLU filed the complaint on behalf of White Tail, the American Association of Nude Recreation-East, three couples who are White Tail members and their five children. The lawsuit says the statute violates the right to privacy.

A decision on whether to revive the suit is expected in several weeks.

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