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Sex Toy Battle Relies On Gay Rights Ruling

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Sex Toy Battle Relies On Gay Rights Ruling

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 5, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(Huntsville, Alabama) A federal judge has been asked to strike down a 1998 laws that bans the sale of sex toys in Alabama.

If U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith agrees it would be the third time he has declared the ban unconstitutional.

A group of 10 storeowners have been fighting the state since the law was enacted. Michael Fees, the lawyer for the group, argues that the U.S. Supreme Court decision banning the criminalization of gay sex based on privacy issues also protects his clients' right to buy and sell sex toys.

In 1999, Smith ruled against the law only to have it reversed by the 11th Circuit Court after the state attorney general's office appealed his decision.

In 2002, Smith again ruled against the law, but a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit overturned him. The judges, however, sent the case back to Smith to review some other issues, including whether states have the right to legislate morality.

In February the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal, allowing the law to stand. (story)

On the surface, the case may be considered whimsical - banning the sale of inflatable sex dolls, dildos, and playing cards with the pictures of naked p*** stars on them, but the court's reasoning has given civil rights groups cause for alarm.

The American Civil Liberties Union argued that the Constitution included a right to sexual privacy that the ban on sex toy sales would violate.

Although the ban does not include the possession of sex toys by private citizens the ban on the sale of the items is punishable by a $10,000 fine and a year in jail.

The state's attorneys have not yet filed a response to the suit.

©365Gay.com 2005

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