In a unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Alabama statute banning the commercial distribution of sex toys, saying that there is no fundamental right to privacy raised by the plaintiff's case against the law.
According to the statute, it is "unlawful for any person to knowingly distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs."
In 1998, the Alabama chapter of the ACLU brought suit on behalf of several plaintiffs—chief among them adult toy retailer Sherri Williams—seeking to enjoin the statute. The recent ruling by the 11th Circuit marks the third trip through the appellate process for the case.
The court apparently ruled that recent US Supreme Court decisions striking down anti-sodomy laws and creating a zone of privacy around consensual activity (such as the Lawrence decision) didn't apply since this case was about commerce rather than sex per se. But attorney Reed Lee notes that "the U.S. Supreme Court in Griswold made clear that the right to use contraception—the issue in that case—didn't mean anything without the right to buy it….If Texas can't have a law against sodomy, it seems difficult to say that Alabama can ban the sale of sex toys."
While you plan your honeymoons, romantic getaways, and President Day vacation plans, consider:
Colorado, Kansas and Louisiana courts have all said that laws banning the sale of sex toys on obscenity grounds are unconstitutional.
Courts in Georgia, Mississippi and Texas have upheld sex toy bans.
More, including link to full court opinion in Williams v. Morgan, here.