Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/14/alabama_ruling/

Alabama judges take hard line on dildos

Ban on sale of sex toys constitutional, court rules

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 14th September 2009 10:06 GMT

An Alabama "adult themed chain store" has lost an appeal in which it sought to challenge the state's anti-obscenity law - prohibiting the sale of sex toys - as "unconstitutional" and "unconstitutionally vague".

Alabama Supreme Court justices ruled on Friday that said law is indeed constitutional, and that Hoover-based Love Stuff must continue to adhere to it.

Owner Ross Winner explained that he's "allowed to sell sex toys in his Love Stuff shops but only for medical or educational purposes". The devices must be kept in "a back room" and staff must must "ID everyone who enters and refuse sale to anyone who doesn’t fit the medical or educational criteria".

Ross told CBS: “We feel a person should have the ability to come in and purchase a sexual device with out having to have a reason.”

He added (as transcribed, apparently in some haste, by CBS): “Something as personal as enhancing your relationship with your wife and to create a strong loving relationship with your wife is nobody’s business nobodies concern what your do in the privacy of your bedroom the government does not have the right to have input on that."

The court disagreed, and the justices ruled that “public morality can still serve as a legitimate rational basis for regulating commercial activity, which is not a private activity".

In its ruling, the court cited a precedent back in 2004 in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case of Williams vs Attorney General of Alabama, the plaintiffs "seeking to sell sex toys and novelties were seeking to enjoin enforcement of the state’s anti-obscenity statute".

The justices noted: "As the 11th Circuit pithily and somewhat coarsely stated: 'There is nothing "private" or "consensual" about the advertising and sale of a dildo.'"

Winner is apparently undecided whether or not to take the matter to the US Supreme Court, and is "weighing the pros and cons to decide if it’s really worth his time and money". ®

Bootnote

CBS was able to find a couple of Alabama lasses who are firmly behind Winner. Lorraine Carty said: "I do believe that all women and men have the right to purchase what they want to use in the privacy of their own homes at any given time."

Shanice King rather more entertainingly, if less coherently, chipped in (again as CBS has it): “It's your bedroom you pay rent there the government doesn’t help you out what-so-ever they already invade our privacy enough as it is so it invade the bedroom is taking everything away from us and we might as well be living in a communist country."