In the 3-to-2 ruling, the court decided that a city ordinance in Laconia, N.H., that bars women from exposing their nipples did not discriminate based on gender. The majority decision cited court rulings in other states that said society’s conventions consider female breasts to be an “erogenous zone” and that the laws ban both men and women from exposing body parts that are “intimately associated with the procreation function.”

That logic is precisely what the women from New Hampshire were seeking to undermine when they showed up topless at a beach three years ago.

“It’s pathetic how highly sexualized a woman’s breast is,” said Heidi Lilley, 58, one of the women who appealed the case to the state’s highest court. “I thought that it was necessary that we make a change to that.”