1. Health
Cory Silverberg

Sex Toy Sales Legal in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi

By October 31, 2008

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While Iíve been biting my nails waiting for a miracle next Tuesday, AVN informs us that we got some surprise good news on the sexual rights front. From their extensive coverage:

Prominent First Amendment attorney H. Louis Sirkin received an order this morning from the U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas requiring the parties in the case of Reliable Consultants, Inc. v. Earle to submit a written status report on the case - but the big news was this sentence: "On October 29, 2008, counsel for the State of Texas informed the Court by telephone that the State does not intend to seek a writ of certiorari in this cause."

What that means is that the decision by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 12, which overturned Texas' obscene device law, remains the law of the land, at least in the three states that form the Fifth Judicial Circuit: Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

In other words itís safe to buy, sell, and use sex toys in all three states. This leaves Alabama and Kansas as the lone hold outs. Several lawyers quoted in the story emphasize that the importance of this ruling goes beyond the right to use sex toys, and is really about the court acknowledging that sexual rights extend beyond procreative ones and include the right to sexual pleasure and expression alone or with a partner.

I liked this quote from Gary Krupkin who is an attorney representing two sex toy retailers in Texas fighting local ordinances:

"I think that the entire Reliable Consultants case has been a watershed moment in constitutional jurisprudenceÖbecause it recognizes and embodies that which was recognized by the Supreme Court in Lawrence and really is making what I think is a return to traditional American values, and the value I'm speaking about is individual privacy and recognition that the First Amendment means something more than just speech; it means expression.Ē

Krupkin and others point out that this is far from the end of the fight. State courts may have said theyíre not hearing any more sex toy cases, but municipalities can, and are, still trying to shut down or prevent the opening of sex shops through zoning restrictions. As attorney Clyde DeWitt points out in the piece, "The problem, of course, is that novelties are not protected by the First Amendment like videos and magazines. The effect of Reliable Consultants on that type of ordinance remains to be seen."

As sex toys become further and further integrated into mainstream retailing in Europe and Canada, it seems amazing that in the U.S. it may be easier to buy and sell pornography than vibrators.

Read more - AVN: Sex Toy Sales Now Completely Legal In Fifth Circuit

Related - A Visual Guide to Sex Toys ; A Visual Guide to Vibrators ; Sex Toy Quiz

Photo credit: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

Comments
October 31, 2008 at 6:00 pm
(1) Dan Lyke says:

I’m getting a 404 on that AVN link. Could you double-check that?

October 31, 2008 at 6:11 pm
(2) Cory says:

fixed, thanks!

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