Sex

Forget About Opening that Sex Toys 'R' Us Franchise in Alabama Anytime Soon

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Via XBiz:

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.

Hat tips: boingboing and Violet Blue.

NEXT: Slam, Maglalang Maglalang Maglalang, Shotgun Get Down!*

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  1. So I’m assuming PetSmart will stop selling gerbils in Georgia?

  2. Oh, the feminist blogs are having a field day with this. Pure snark.

  3. So basically you do what you do when you live in a “dry county” – you get in the car and you drive to the nearest locale that can legally sell sex toys. Indeed shops which sell such items might congregate at the border to facilitate such trade.

  4. The right is so afraid of the female orgasm because they’ve never witnessed one up close.

  5. If you really need that sort of thing, just order it off the internet.

  6. I think there are 3 or more dildo stores within a 3 mile radius of where I live in GA. Unless by “Adult Toys” they are referring to n gauge model railroads and high-end RC aircraft.

  7. obligatory sexist quip………..

    How do you make a woman orgasm?

    Who cares?

  8. Can’t stop laughing at that one, blankman ______

    But really, does anybody ever see us coming to a happy balance when it comes to government intervention?

  9. I think this issue goes back a lot longer than what is indicated in this article.

    In 1985 – 1986 I was stationed south of Montgomery and remember something in the news about Alabama suing companies who distributed or advertised on satellite television. Specific details escape me, but I do remember it was an “adult entertainment” issue.

    There was something about an adult book store in Montgomery having trouble with the government. I actually went in and asked them about it, looked around and it looked like they had plenty of products too. Forgot if they said their store was not being bothered or what the issue was.

    Anyway, all that babble just to mention that Alabama has been fussing with this issue for quite some time.

  10. Th dumb asses are too decrepit to know about the interweb?

    I have given the story before about the guy here in Texas who is now a sex offender for selling a “sex toy”, so I won’t give it again. The Texas law is retarded. You can sell a dildo, you just can’t call it that when you sell it. I guess I would complain, but I am sure the natural response would not be to liberalize the selling of sex toys as “sex toys”, but to ban them all together. Oh, you dumb bunny conservatives, when you realize that commercial activity is ALSO private.

  11. If you need a sex toy on your honeymoon you’ve married the wrong chick.

  12. While I oppose this sort of government oppression on principal, I can’t get too worked up over such an unenforceable law. That’s probably not true, let’s just say I haven’t started frothing at the mouth just yet.

    I’m more impressed at how some souther states are working so hard to embrace the ignorant redneck stereotype.

  13. Not necessarily TWC…I’m sure there’s plenty of guys out there who get off on playing with or watching their significant other with a toy.

  14. I can’t get too worked up over such an unenforceable law

    Judging from Steve’s story, it’s not only enforceable but useful for padding the sex-offender lists as well.

  15. Grotius – a county banning sex toys could also be considered a “dry county,” no?

    (somebody had to say it)

  16. Good for them, who needs this immoral junk. God does not want us to use them.

    Anything that helps the police to protect us from disobeying God is inherintly a good thing. I’m all for it.

  17. I see a black market for sex toys in Alabama’s future. One where you walk into a “bodega” like convenience store…give them the secret password, and get access to the VIP room 🙂

  18. Juanita,

    Are you being sarcastic here? If so, you should know that sarcasm gets lost on some people…

    That said, where in the bible does it say, “thou shalt not use dildos, plastic vaginas or asses, butt plugs, scrotum rings, etc etc etc?? Can you reference it? I’d like to see it.

  19. Jimmy, what I actually should have said is that if you need a sex toy on your honeymoon you’ve married the wrong guy. 🙂

    Your point is taken, but generally young lust, er love, is so, ahh, potent, that, well………let me put it delicately, at one wedding where I was the best man (in a pink tux, no less) the bride and groom skipped the reception, leaving the guests standing around saying, well, what do we do now? So then the old married couples got out their toys and had some fun. Well, I made up that last part, but Bob & Janet really did skip the reception.

  20. The cucumber lobby is ecstatic.

  21. YOU’LL TAKE MY NEON BUTT PLUGS OUT OF MY COLD DEAD…….

    I couldn’t finish it.

  22. I’m sure this is all just a conspiracy of big cucumber. 🙂

    Wasn’t Janet a slut? Oh wait that was BRAD and Janet. Nevemind.

  23. “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.”

    I didn’t realize that there was a difference.

  24. Jimmy, what I actually should have said is that if you need a sex toy on your honeymoon you’ve married the wrong guy. 🙂

    Or a guy who likes to get fucked up the ass by a woman wearing a strap on.

  25. So apparently there are a bunch of men who don’t want to compete with plastic dicks.

    Pathetic. Weak.

  26. Oh yeah, one more retarded aspect I forgot to point out. If you are in possession of more then about 4 dildos, or something like that, then you are guilty of intent to sell. So…If you own a head shop or an adult bookstore you can sell dildos – and stock as many as you need – that aren’t “dildos”, but personal novelty items, but if you are a non-commercial entity then you can only be in possession of 4. Got it?

    So yes, if my wife owns 2 more of those pesky little immoral personal novelty devises – which save me allot of energy during the average week – she could be arrested.

    Oh, but you are allowed to buy Steely Dan CDs. 😉

  27. I’m more impressed at how some souther states are working so hard to embrace the ignorant redneck stereotype.

    Interesting that it is “redneck” when done in the South, but there is not a term for it when done in the north. Oh, wait it is like that palenta vs. grits thing, isn’t it?

  28. guilty of intent to sell

    I never understood this term, intent to sell, because how can you be convicted based on an assumption thay may or may not be correct.

  29. Here in ‘Bama, we stimulate the human genital organs the ol’ fashioned way: by bendin’ you over a stump! Squeal for me Yankee Boy!

  30. Parse,
    May I call you Peg?

  31. What about adult sex toys in disguise? Computer nerd chicks unite!

    How about some that are hidden in plain view?

    Oh my gosh, time to ban the Ab Roller!!!

  32. Parse,
    May I call you Peg?

    Just as long as you call me, Warren; just as long as you call me.

  33. But will you respect each other in the morning?

  34. JimmyDaGeek – Ask and you shall recieve…Ezekiel 16:17

    “17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them”

    The general assumption being they only made part of the image…anyway, doesn’t sound like God approves of the activity.

  35. plastic vaginas or asses

    These are hilarious. I wonder…do people buy these for anything other than bachelor parties, Halloween costumes, Reason gatherings, etc.?

    If you are in possession of more then about 4 dildos, or something like that, then you are guilty of intent to sell.

    I have an old friend who would be up shitz creek if she lived in ‘Bama, in that case. But consider this: what if there are four or more, but they are already used? Would anybody really be intending to sell a used dildo? Wouldn’t that exonerate them from intent to sell? Then again, after some of the things I’ve seen for sale on eBay…

  36. wow, i had no idea they had dildos back in the day. i wonder if that’s how the virgin mary got impregnated…hmmmm…

    in the words of paris hilton…that’s hot…

  37. But does paris hilton have one made of gold or silver? Enquiring minds want to know. I wonder how much a gold one would weigh…probably have to be hollow.

  38. You can sell a dildo, you just can’t call it that when you sell it.

    I bought my favorite personal massager in TX.

  39. I haven’t read the opinion yet, but do you think the case could be distinguished from Griswold in terms of the sex toy trade’s being more “commercial” than the contraceptive trade? That is, contraceptives are usually sold in a low key manner, the products being rather generic, while with sex toys it’s all about the sizzle?

  40. Robert: I think that sizzle you are talking about is the free speech component. But seriously, it’s a vibrating dildo and a bong?

  41. “These are hilarious. I wonder…do people buy these for anything other than bachelor parties, Halloween costumes, Reason gatherings, etc.?”

    *smacks forehead*

    So that’s what was missing at the last Denver gathering!

  42. My question is do chimps make sex toys? Rudimentary forms of them? Can they be taught to and if so, does the fact they ‘have’ to be taught indicate the making of sex toys is species specific to humans, indeed, is the defining trait of humans? If so, to ban plastic punani is nothing short of a crime against human nature.

  43. Or maybe, other than humans, it’s only bonobos that make sex toys?

  44. I’m not at all comfortable with the idea of states criminalizing harmless items that are perfectly legal elsewhere in the country. This strikes me as little different from Utah trying to criminalize the sale of coffee or other caffeinated drinks.

  45. So apparently there are a bunch of men who don’t want to compete with plastic dicks.

    Have you ever seen the judges on the 11th circuit? They are plastic dicks.

    Denny Crane.

  46. Jennifer,

    Did you not watch the “Scary Movie” scene in which one of the Wayans brothers is killed by taking a phallic object through the ear??

    I would hardy call these things “harmless items”.

  47. Squeal for me Yankee Boy

    Yeah, living in the south is just like living thru Deliverance 24/7.

  48. “17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them”

    ====================================
    The metaphorical association of marital infidelity with idol worship is a recurring theme in the old testament. So, given the context, I say that the Bible’s pretty silent on the issue. One of Paul’s epistles makes an offhand reference to it being a sin for a man to deprive his wife of sexual pleasure, though, I think. I forget where that’s found.

  49. Is the ban really specific to “human genitals”? If so, can I market a vibrator for large dogs?

    Or will Southern Women have to settle for vibrating razor handles?

  50. If you need a sex toy on your honeymoon you’ve married the wrong chick.

    1. Lots of married couples go on second, third, etc. honeymoons.
    2. There are also a lot of older folks marrying again, and taking honeymoons.

  51. it’s only bonobos that make sex toys?

    Newfangled synthetics are better suited.

  52. for a man to deprive his wife of sexual pleasure, though, I think. I forget where that’s found

    It’s found between the…

  53. We have a threadwinner!

  54. …and blushing with pride.

  55. Now that I’ve read the opinion, I think I’ve found what they would say to distinguish it from Griswold. The statute exempts the sale of devices for medical purposes, and contraception is now considered a medical purpose, while sex play is not.

  56. “Is the ban really specific to “human genitals”? If so, can I market a vibrator for large dogs?”

    i hate to do this to you all, but this horse (Ahem) has been beaten to death already:

    VERY VERY NSFW:

    http://www.zoofur.com

  57. If you need a sex toy on your honeymoon you’ve married the wrong chick.

    And what if you enjoy watching your new wife masturbate? People ARE turned on by that sort of thing… especially me.

    This, and the Thomas Paine Day thing in Arkansas have convinced me of one thing: The Union let the South off way too easy after the Civil War.

  58. Sex toys can improve your sexual health and also make your sexual relationship more interactive and interesting.

  59. I was really looking forward to opening a sex toys store in Alabama now I will just have to open one on the border of Alabama and Tennessee instead.

  60. Thanks for sharing this superb information on Sex toys?but personally I feel banning sex toy is not solution they necessary to fulfill one sexual desire, actually I was looking forward for such posts?

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