When Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court ruled that taking pictures up a woman's skirt without her consent — a.k.a. "upskirting" — is legal in the state, the decision caused quite a reaction.
"If somebody tried to do this to me, I'd kick them in the face." (Via HLN)
"I think if there isn't a law against it or if the law doesn't protect against it, it should be rewritten. Because I still think that's an invasion of privacy." (Via Fox News)
"I even went so far as to look up the gender of the Supreme Judicial Court, because I thought, 'Hey, wait a minute, if this is seven dudes, someone needs to show them that upskirting a woman is the equivalent of sticking a phone down your pants, boys.'" (Via CNN)
With all the outrage, it didn't take long for state lawmakers to move to close the legal loophole. A bill explicitly banning upskirting cleared both the House and the Senate Thursday at practically lightning speed.
The state's highest court dismissed charges against a man accused of taking upskirt photos on public transit, saying the state's peeping tom law "does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with." (Via Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts)
Under the proposed new law, taking upskirt photos would become a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $5,000 fine and/or up to two and a half years behind bars.
Senate President Therese Murray told reporters, "We are sending a message that to take a photo or video of a woman under her clothing is morally reprehensible and, in Massachusetts, we will put you in jail for doing it." (Via Boston Magazine)
The bill was pushed through both chambers of the state legislature in a matter of hours, in what The Boston Globe called "an extraordinary show of legislative will in place that usually moves at an extremely deliberative and sometimes glacial place."
But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed that fixing the law as quickly as possibe was of the utmost priority.
"I think that once the decision was received by all of us last night, I think that there was a feeling that something had to be done, and had to be done quickly." (Via WBZ-TV)
"Usually there's a disagreement on who gets credit or 'I want to be up' or 'If you do it, we can't' and it needs to be tied into some other moving parts. No, this is the very definition of a no-brainer." (Via New England Cable News)
The bill is currently waiting for Governor Deval Patrick's signature. It's expected to be signed into law as early as Friday.