'A relic': Des Plaines to repeal opposite-sex clothing ban

For the third time this summer, a suburban prohibition on wearing clothes designed for the opposite sex is expected to be repealed next week.

This time, the Des Plaines city council will take action when it meets Monday night. The Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg village boards already have done so.

Des Plaines Mayor Andrew Goczkowski expects the repeal to pass without controversy.

"The existing language is a relic from a different and less accepting time," Goczkowski said. "When it was brought to our attention, it was obvious that it needed to be updated."

The rule has been in place since 1963 under an ordinance governing "obscene and immoral acts."

According to the regulation, it is illegal for anyone to "appear in any such place in a dress not belonging to his sex." To do so is to commit indecent exposure, the ordinance states.

The proposal before the board will strike language about gender-specific clothing from the ordinance. It also will change a reference to male genitalia in a different part of the ordinance to the nonspecific "their."

The word "immoral" will be changed to "indecent" in one section, too.

Attorney and Elk Grove Village resident Jim Naughton raised the issue to municipal officials in his hometown, Schaumburg and Des Plaines after discovering the ordinances while reviewing suburban municipal codes.

Elk Grove Village dropped its rule last month, and Schaumburg did the same earlier this week.

As for Des Plaines, the proposal is included on the consent agenda for Monday's meeting. That means no public discussion is planned and it could be approved with eight other measures in a single vote.

"I think the fact that it was placed on the consent agenda speaks to how welcoming the community is," Goczkowski said.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at city hall, 1420 Miner St. It will be broadcast live at and on local cable Channel 17.

If approved, the repeal will be the second recent ordinance change in Des Plaines designed to support the LGBTQ community.

In May, the city council voted to allow the symbolic rainbow flag to be flown at city hall for seven days each June to commemorate LGBTQ Pride Month.

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