Last week the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously voted to uphold new state laws that put heavy restrictions on sexually oriented businesses (SOBs).
As of August last year, the law in Missouri states that:
- Nude dancing is prohibited.
- Sexually oriented businesses, such as adult bookstores and clubs or theaters offering semi-nude entertainment, must close between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Alcohol sales are prohibited in sexually oriented businesses.
- Dancers must perform on elevated stages at a distance from customers. Touching is prohibited.
- Movie viewing in closed booths is prohibited.
Of course, there is both widespread celebration and public outcries.
Club owners challenged the law before it went into effect in August, 2010. Dick Bryant, an attorney for the club owners, said, “We believe the decision is a major erosion of rights of free expression afforded under the constitutions of Missouri and the United States.”
Judge Laura Denvir Stith disagreed. She said these new laws are related to the state’s desire to protect public health and safety. “The act does not ban sexually oriented businesses of any type. Rather, it seeks to reduce negative secondary effects associated with such businesses, including detrimental health and sanitary conditions, prostitution and drug-related crimes both inside and outside these locations, as well as deterioration of the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Phillip Cosby, director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, said, “Missouri has set the standard for the nation. The gold standard.”
What do you think about the new laws and the court’s ruling?