Are there cops in your bedroom? Should there be? The State of Texas has long considered sex between adults just another area for regulation. Until 2003 consensual adult homosexual sex was a crime in the Lone Star State. Like most bad laws it was rarely enforced. The Supreme Court ruled that the law furthered no legitimate state interest.
Undettered, the State of Texas still enforces a bizarre ban on vibrators. Possessing six or more “obscene devices” is a state jail felony, with a minimum sentence of 6 months in jail. Like most stupid laws, this one is rarely enforced. Only in Texas could selling “obscene devices” carrying the same sentence as Burglary of a Building.
If Texas can not outlaw certain sexual activity, it at least wants to tax it. Last year the legislature passed a $5 tax on strip club patrons to fund sexual assault prevention. The idea being that strip club patrons are somehow responsible for sexual assaults. The only assaults occuring at strip clubs are on the patron’s credit cards.
Swinging in Duncanville
Currently, the Dallas media is in a tizzy over a swingers club at a private residence in Duncanville. The City of Duncanville recently passed an ordinance to shut the club down even though no illegal activity has ever taken place.
The new ordinance makes it illegal to operate a “sex club.” What is a sex club? “Any premise, person or organization that is presented, advertised or provides notification to the public that it is a swinger’s club, an adult encounter group or center or that provides an opportunity or an invitation to engage in or view sexual activity, stimulation or gratification.”
I would now like to announce that the Duncanville Police Station provides an opportunity to engage or view sexual activity and stimulation. According to statute I have now made the DPD station a sex club.
Osama Bin Laden or Ron Jeremy ?
Regulating morality is not limited to intrusive state laws. While questioning the new Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch called for an increase in “mainstream obscenity” prosecutions.
I have read the Constitution and I can not find any provision for the federal government to regulate porno. To the contrary the First Amendment would seem to protect mainstream obscenity. The Supreme Court disagrees and has set confusing and nearly unenforcable rules for criminalizng obscenity. Senator Hatch is merely continuing the recent trend of using the Attorney General’s office to destroy Constitutional protections.
However, in an age of terrorism fighting “mainstream obscenity” is a dangerous waste of law enforcement resources. Hatch calls for “more FBI agents and prosecutors” dedicated to fighting the porno threat. Remember opportunity costs. I do not take off my shoes at the airport because porn stars are trying to kill us.
Prosecuting Inflatable Sheep
I only prosecuted one case involving promotion of obscene materials. The defendant pulled up to a 7-11 parking lot and displayed a van full of various obscene items for sale. A concerned citizen called and the defendant was arrested.
Our office had a great laugh at the list of contraband, including inflatable sheep (really, no really)and something called “the torpedo”, inter alia. This defendant could not make bail and served 20+ days in jail.
The office had some debate on prosecuting this case. The popular opinion being that you shouldn’t sell adult items out of a van where children could see it. However, Texas law does not allow retail stores to sell inflatable sheep so the market responds with the mobile seller.
Hatch, Paul, and Freedom
Adults should be free to make their own decisions when it comes to mainstream obscentiy and obscene devices. Sending police into bust up adult bookstores is an embarassing waste of tax dollars. Just because Orrin Hatch does not like porn does not mean we need to use the FBI to arrest those who sell it. Mr. Hatch should simply quit buying porn if it upsets him so much. A boycott is always a better approach than a SWAT team.
Only one candidate stands up for the right of adults to live their lives without federal morality police watching every move. Check out John Stossel interviewing Ron Paul on prostitution, gay marriage, and drugs inter alia.