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 Most of those laws eventually are reversed (by new legislation), but some states hold on to laws that are clearly out of date.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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  1. Tom Galvin August 1, 2004
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