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North Carolina beach town bans thongs

By Gabriel Falcon, CNN
Kure Beach officials say they will crack down on people wearing thongs in the seaside community.
Kure Beach officials say they will crack down on people wearing thongs in the seaside community.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kure Beach, North Carolina, bans thongs at beach
  • Decision came after couple asked if they could wear thongs on honeymoon
  • Mayor Dean Lambeth says reaction to policy has been positive
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(CNN) -- If you plan on going to Kure Beach, North Carolina, bring your sunscreen and shades, but please leave your thong behind.

The seaside community has adopted a zero tolerance policy on anyone wearing the barely-there bikini by the shore on their part of North Carolina's Pleasure Island, just south of Wilmington.

"You can do what you want to in your own space," said Mayor Dean Lambeth, "but for public decency, keep it off the public beach."

Lambeth told CNN he and the town supervisors last week unanimously approved the ordinance banning the skimpy bathing wear.

"Everything we do is family oriented. We like the small town atmosphere," he said.

The decision to forbid thongs was triggered by a couple's recent inquiry about spending their honeymoon in Kure Beach, Lambeth said.

According to the mayor, the couple wanted to know if they could wear thongs. The man thought the town's policy on the matter was ambiguous, Lambeth said. After consulting with the police chief, he determined the ordinance should be amended to better address the issue.

Section 12-32 of the Code of the Town of Kure Beach, which was adopted on April 22, makes it illegal "for any person being naked or insufficiently clothed ... to bathe or swim in the Atlantic Ocean" or any other area within the town's jurisdiction. Sun-bathing "naked or insufficiently clothed" is also banned.

"Thong bathing suits or similar attire are specifically prohibited," the code says.

Anyone wearing a thong on the beach will be fined $25.

Lambeth said reaction to the no-thong policy has been overwhelmingly positive.

"I have gotten probably 100 e-mails from all over the U.S. supporting our stance," he told CNN. "I'm getting calls from New York, California that they are glad somebody is finally taking a stand for public decency."

Lambeth, who said Kure Beach's population swells from 2,500 to 11,000 in the summer, described the town as "nice, slow-mo and conservative."

"We're just a small southern community, and that's how we're going to keep it," he said.

He also suspected the decision on the thongs could end up in court and blamed liberals for that.

"You can file a suit -- the way this country is leaning so far left, it wouldn't surprise me," he said. "They want to challenge it? They want to spend the money? Go for it."

Lambeth said people can wear thongs in their homes and backyards. And with his policy in place, he told CNN he's content.

"I'm sitting out here looking at the ocean and don't see a damn thong in sight."

 
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