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Alabama Needs Dildos

A silly law and a silly ruling require an equally silly response.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld a 1998 Alabama law banning the sale of sex toys in the state, ruling the Constitution doesn't include a right to sexual privacy.

In a 2-1 decision overturning a lower court, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state has a right to police the sale of devices that can be sexually stimulating.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented merchants and users who sued to overturn the law, asked the appeals court to rule that the Constitution included a right to sexual privacy that the ban on sex toy sales would violate. The court declined, indicating such a decision could lead down other paths.

"If the people of Alabama in time decide that a prohibition on sex toys is misguided, or ineffective, or just plain silly, they can repeal the law and be finished with the matter," the court said.

"On the other hand, if we today craft a new fundamental right by which to invalidate the law, we would be bound to give that right full force and effect in all future cases including, for example, those involving adult incest, prostitution, obscenity, and the like."

Regardless of the pontifications you may have seen elsewhere, the law seems to be an example of a good 'ol Southern "blue law." States have banned the sale of all sorts of goods and services (alcohol, bongs, certain pets, etc.) throughout the ages. Most of those laws eventually are reversed (by new legislation), but some states hold on to laws that are clearly out of date. In South Carolina, until recently, mixed drinks had to be purchased and made from airline size individual bottles of liquor. One thing you learn about blue laws is that business owners find loopholes and work-arounds.

The key point in this law seems to be the sale of the sex toys, since possession is not illegal. Those who truly care about Alabamians ability to partake in dildos, butt plugs, and the like should be working on means of flooding the state with subsidized sex toys so that they can be distributed for free.

Nothing in the law says you can't give them away...

Update: Sugarmama and her significant other checked out one of the shops in Alabama that sell such devices. Back in the day they were called head shops, and from her description nothing much has changed. Given the general seediness of these shops, you have to wonder if most of the sex toy business hasn't already moved online?


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Comments (9)

The issue is not whether Al... (Below threshold)

The issue is not whether Alabama should or should not be using sex toys. The issue is whether or not a state, through a legislature elected by the people, has the right to pass laws without a handful of unelected judges overturning the law. If the law is unpopular and archaic, it's up to the people to elect legislators who repeal the law. The Constitution leaves matters such as these to the individual states and says nothing about sexual freedom. Who would you rather enact laws, the politicians you elect or appointed federal judges who are tenured for life? That is the issue.

Once again, I suspect I'm g... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Once again, I suspect I'm gonna go to hell for posting stuff like this...

O, I've got a really tiny penis,
And my gal's got a sad Mound of Venus.
Put it away, put it away,
Put it away, Dixie Land.

In Dixie Land there are no dildos
Or vibrators that go where they will go.
Put it away, put it away,
Put it away, Dixie Land.

Oh, I'm glad I live in Dixie!
Hooray, Hooray!
Where latex prongs can't impugn my dong,
My small prick reigns in Dixie!
She'll never know just how big they grow,
No sham cocks for Dixie!

J. (I repeat, I'm a LIFELONG Cow Hampshire resident, and have NEVER ventured below the Mason-Dixon line)

What is it with Alabama? Th... (Below threshold)

What is it with Alabama? They seem to get more than their share of news coverage.

As much as I am anti-blue l... (Below threshold)

As much as I am anti-blue laws, and pro-sex toys, Tom Galvin is right on this one. Conservatives and populists need to step up their reasoning a bit and start framing issues in defense of states rights.

But hopefully OTB's James can answer the more important question: does this mean that Alabama chicks are prudes, or are they extremely good-to-go?

Ditto Tom and Chaos. The C... (Below threshold)

Ditto Tom and Chaos. The Court is to be commended for upholding this silly law.

Maybe some of the member of... (Below threshold)
eclipsegurl:

Maybe some of the member of the court should partake of some to the sex toys and what they have to offer and stop being so up tight.

In some areas of the South there are still rediculous blue laws. We still have counties that are dry. I say that we should be able to buy a beer and a dildo. Service with a smile :)

Hmm, dildos as a stepping s... (Below threshold)

Hmm, dildos as a stepping stone to sexual deviance. I guess all the potential deviants will have to use cucumbers. That's entirely normal. ;)

I don't think this law is being enforced. There is a store in Birmingham called Bohemain Rhapsody that sells sex toys.

One thing to note about S.C... (Below threshold)
Addison:

One thing to note about S.C. - anytime the minibottle law came up - the airlines flew in Washington, D.C. lobbyists to keep it on the books. Otherwise, they didn't have the volume to economically buy the minibottles. (There was another state with the same law, and got the same lobbying full court press on a regular basis)

To answer your question in ... (Below threshold)

To answer your question in the update, yes most of the sex toy business is online. Stores like Toys in Babeland (www.babeland.com) have respectable storefronts in Manhattan and also on the interweb.




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