a bird and a bottle

In Alabama, as in Texas, Sex Toys = Prostitution
February 14, 2007, 7:15 pm
Filed under: criminal justice, feminism/s & gender, law, news, politics, reproductive justice

From the blog of the American Constitution Society:

In Lawrence v. Texas[Wikipedia entry here], the Supreme Court held that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice . . . .” Nevertheless, the Eleventh Circuit held today that an Alabama law banning the sale of sex toys is not unconstitutional, on the grounds that Alabama has an interest in preserving “public morality” against the sale of such devices. The challenged law prohibits only the sale of devices “primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” It does not forbid their use or possession.

According to the Eleventh Circuit, Lawrence, which struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law, limited its holding to “private” activity between sexual partners. The Alabama law, on the other hand, prohibits the sale of sex toys–a “public, commercial activity.” Reasoning that the sale of sex toys was more similar to “prostitution” than to private, consensual sex, the Eleventh Circuit upheld the Alabama law.

As Molly Ivins hilariously exposed in her “Dildo Diaries” segment, a similar law bans the sale of sex toys in Texas. People get around the law by calling dildos and vibrators “educational devices” and by putting little animals and faces on them so they are not “representational.”

Anyone think this whole “public morality” line of reasoning is getting old and that it doesn’t really work anymore in an age when so many elected officials violate the ethics laws intended to impose morality upon them? And that it’s mostly used to control/limit women‘s sexuality, particularly since Lawrence?

Yeah, I think so too.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

honestly, how do you post on this blog every day without being physically incapacitated by the insanity of our species (largely the unfairer sex)?

Comment by d

Yeah, I think the whole “public morality” element to this creeps me out. The people who believe that one’s purchase of a dildo affects “public morality” need to be reminded in no uncertain terms that certain things are simply NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Or weren’t they taught that as children, as they ought to have been?

Comment by mannabozo

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