Court Overturns Alabama Sex Toy Ruling
The Associated Press, October 14, 2000
MONTGOMERY, Ala.A federal appeals court overturned a ruling that
had found Alabamas ban on the sale of sex toys unconstitutional and sent the case
back the lower court to reconsider.
U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith of Huntsville ruled last year that legislators had no
legitimate interest in passing the law. The judge described the law as "overly
broad" and said it violates due process rights because it bears no "rational
relation to a legitimate state interest."
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday disagreed with
that ruling, saying the law "is rationally related to the states legitimate
government interest in public morality."
In sending the case back to Smith, the panel told the judge to consider whether the law
might be unconstitutional for other reasons.
Their ruling said Smith had "analyzed neither whether our nation has a deeply
rooted history of state interference, or state non-interference, in the private sexual
activity of married or unmarried heterosexual persons nor whether contemporary practice
bolsters or undermines any such history."
Attorney General Bill Pryor said Saturday that he was pleased with the ruling.
"Our duty is to defend the laws of Alabama," he said.
The statute deems selling or distributing "any obscene material or any device
designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs"
to be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The law was challenged by six women who either sell sex aids or said they needed them
for sexual gratification. The spokeswoman for the group, shop owner Sheri Williams, could
not be reached for comment Saturday.
The law hasnt been enforced, pending completion of the legal challenge.
Alabama Code, Section 13A-12-200.2: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/ALISHome.html
[Home] [News] [Alabama]