Should The Interim take an editorial stand on the toplessness question? A seemingly trivial subject has generated a great deal of attention, particularly as the summer weather hits with a vengeance.

Everywhere it seems, Ontario newspapers are beating the bushes for stories involving topless women and the public’s reaction to this newfound expression of “equality.”

But what might appear a little inane on the surface has implications for anyone concerned with quality family life in this province.

Is it unreasonable to assume that as more and more women bow to the pressure to go topless, that modesty and self-respect will suffer another major blow? This is to say nothing of concerns about the increasing treatment of women as objects of sexual gratification.

All of the current debate comes in the wake of the overturning of Guelph resident Gwen Jacob’s indecency conviction for parading around topless in 1991. Jacob’s crusade and the oft-times bizarre rhetoric attending it forced Canadians to consider attitudes toward public nudity (or semi-nudity).

In overturning the Jacob conviction, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that women may go topless so long as it is not done for sexual purposes or for commercial gain.

With no specific provincial laws in place, many pro-family supporters are urging the Ontario government to take the case to the Supreme Court. They also urge changes in the Criminal Code that would make it an offence for women to bare their breasts in public.

A legal opinion obtained by Campaign Life Coalition has suggested the Ontario Court of Appeal failed to apply properly the community standard of tolerance test in the Jacob decision.

Perhaps it’s time to remind local leaders of those very community standards. Politicians won’t act unless they are convinced there is strong backing for a move to curtail toplessness. By remaining silent or indifferent, we play into the hands of those who make the specious argument that equality somehow depends on the right of women to bare their breasts in public.

A little decency, and dare we say modesty  would certainly go a long way in this enitre debate.