Last edited: February 23, 2005

Supreme Court Lets Sex Toy Ban Stay, February 22, 2005

By Doreen Brandt, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court has decided to allow Alabama’s ban on sex toys to stand.

In rejecting an appeal from a store owner convicted of selling the toys the court did not comment on the case.

Last July a federal appeals court upheld the 1998 law ruling that the Constitution doesn’t include a right to sexual privacy.

On the surface, the case may be considered whimsical—banning the sale of inflatable sex dolls, dildos, and playing cards with the pictures of naked porn stars on them, but the court’s reasoning has given civil rights groups cause for alarm.

The American Civil Liberties Union argued that the Constitution included a right to sexual privacy that the ban on sex toy sales would violate.

The ACLU said the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized gay sex on privacy grounds, protects sex toy users from unwarranted state intrusion in their homes.

The Appeals court disagreed saying that accepting the ACLU argument 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’s written ruling 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.”

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