Monday, March 10, 2008

:: Oh, save me from the puritanical and provincial mind ::

Okay, I know Valentine’s Day has come and gone, per se. But, I really haven’t had the time to give all you good people the exiting news!!!! (I’ve been wanting to post this for over two weeks!)

No, I’m not getting married. (shudder)


In 2004, the State of Texas, in it’s infinite lack of wisdom, as usual, decided to prosecute a Baptist, mother of 3, former school teacher for selling sex widgets in Texas. That’s right, sexual gratification devices. This North Texas Bible-belt mama, was prosecuted by the State for selling whips, chains, erotic oils and dildo’s to people like me. She had sex parties - to sell sex toys to you and your friends at her customers homes. Just like a Pampered Chef party. (The morons in North Texas later dropped the charges against the Burleson resident.)

Who Knew??? Criminy. I must be a criminal, too. Freaking provincial idiots.

Wait! Actually, a higher court has overturned Texas law regarding the sale of sexual devices!!! WOOHOO!

Court overturns Texas ban on sex toys

Federal appeals court says law violates constitutional right to privacy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A federal appeals court has struck down a Texas law that makes it a crime to promote or sell sex toys.

“Whatever one might think or believe about the use of these devices,” said an opinion written by Justice Thomas M. Reavley of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, “government interference with their personal and private use violates the Constitution.”

Under Texas law it is illegal to sell, advertise, give or lend obscene devices, defined as a device used primarily for sexual stimulation. Anyone in possession of six or more sexual devices is considered to be promoting them.

The Texas law dates back to the 1970s and is seldom enforced. Travis County prosecutors say that they haven’t charged anyone with a sexual device-related crime in at least the past seven years, and probably much longer.

In 2003, a woman in the Fort Worth suburb of Burleson drew nationwide attention when she was arrested for selling erotic toys at a Tupperware-type party. The charges against Joanne Webb were later dropped.

In addition to Texas, whose law has survived previous state court challenges, three other states have a similar sex toys statute: Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia. Laws in Louisiana, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia have been thrown out by courts in recent years.

The 2-1 opinion by a panel of the 5th Circuit was based heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, which struck down a Texas law prohibiting private consensual sex among people of the same sex.

That case established a broad constitutional right to sexual privacy.

On the heels of that landmark ruling, Reliable Consultants Inc. sued Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in 2004 in U.S. District Court in Austin.

They sought a declaratory judgment prohibiting the enforcement of the statute. Reliable Consultants at the time operated adult-oriented stores in Texas including two Dreamers stores and Le Rouge Boutique in Austin. The plaintiffs were later joined by PHE Inc., which operates an online and mail order adult store called Adam and Eve. The plaintiffs were never prosecuted but argued that because of the law their business was hindered and their customers were deprived of buying sex toys.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin dismissed the lawsuit after finding that there is no constitutionally protected right to publicly promote obscene devices.

On appeal, lawyers for the State of Texas, which had replaced Abbott as a defendant, argued that the Lawrence case invalidates laws that target private conduct but not laws prohibiting any commercial conduct. Justice Rhesa H. Barksdale agreed with that logic in his dissent.

The state also argued in a brief that Texas has legitimate “morality based” reasons for the laws, which include “discouraging prurient interests in autonomous sex and the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation.”

A spokesman for Abbott, who filed the brief for the state and for Earle in court, declined to comment. They can ask for review of the case by the entire court, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or allow the case to return to Austin, where Yeakel would likely enter an order that would end enforcement of the law.

Jennifer Kinsley, a Cincinnati-based lawyer for Reliable Consultants, whose firm represents adult businesses nationwide, applauded the court’s ruling and said it would aid her clients and their customers.

“We believe that the rights of ordinary people are being violated by this law, and we are very happy this no longer is valid,” Kinsley said.

And, this from Mathew Harwood, Deadline USA of the Guardian Unlimited:

Hands off my pocket punanni!

Texans can finally do unto themselves and others what they feel like in their own bedrooms

We Americans are known for our prudence, and by that I mean our puritanism in regards to all matters sex, especially when things get weird. For instance, four states ban sex toys: Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and the state I blog from, Virginia. Notice the geography: all four reside in the apparently not so dirty South. But fear not “sexual deviants” in Texas, sex toys can now be legally purchased, reports

According to the Texas (ahem) penal code, it is forbidden to sell or to advertise an artificial penis or vagina “primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” The statute makes an exception for instances in which the purchase meets a “medical, psychiatric, judicial, legislative, or law enforcement” need. Even so, in Reliable Consultants v. Ronnie Earle, the normally conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban on the grounds that it violated the right of ordinary citizens “to engage in private intimate conduct in the home without government intrusion.”

The exceptions to the ban are unintentionally hilarious. I beg someone to give me an example where a dildo could satisfy a legitimate law enforcement need. Although I guess a dildo could double as a night stick and a plastic vagina, handcuffs, if a situation out of the Naked Gun arose.

And for you journalists out there deep in the heart of Texas, want to make Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama squirm? Ask them if they support the circuit court’s ruling and then very coyly with a wink and a nod ask the follow-up question: Is it true that everything is bigger in Texas?

So, does making sex toys legal take the vicarious thrill away? Ummm, no! Someone from Austin was suggesting they could use their ‘fleshlight’ again without fear of imprisonment. Oh, MY! I do believe THAT is for men.

How about that Eliot Spitzer?

On another topic altogether…

Explain to me how Hillary managed to tie delegate votes with Obama in Texas when Hill and the x-Pres have been so heavily hated in the state, especially by men and provincial women. I still find it difficult to believe. I think the Republicans did what many advocated in across the State - Republicans vote in the Democratic Primary for Hillary. That just ain’t right.

I also find it a travesty that Florida and Michigan may be allowed to redo their primaries. If they wanted to be counted the first time, they should have followed the rules to agreed to for the primary.

My family is aghast and perturbed that I’m not a Hillary fanatic. The silly Republican bro’s. The idjuts probably voted for Huckitup. Sheesh. The parents just LOVE the Clintons. Me, I prefer checking what they do and not necessarily believing what they say.

Real Clear Politics is doing a fab job keeping up with the primary results. Previous link is popular vote and this one is Delegates.

Personally speaking:

I am one whipped puppy. Seriously. I finished up a project that started during my vacation in December and concluded last night … very successfully. But, I’m so tired, I could sleep for a month. 12-18 hour days non-stop.

So, hopefully, my work schedule will normalize a bit … except I have to catch up on everything I neglected to do that didn’t get accomplished due to the planning and implementation of the event I just concluded here. Damn.

My niece has a short film she produced last year with Laslo Rain at SXSW in Austin entitled “SHOT.” Damned Cool! It is screening 3 times, so try to catch it if you go to the festival. See link above for more info.

My friend Rob Dowling has some awesome paintings for sale. Must See!!!

Rob: I think you should consider the word “Serendipity.”

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At March 10, 2008 11:24 PM , Blogger tas said...

I think my favorite headline from the Spitzer scandal is "Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring," which makes me think, "Linked? How? By the crotch? Ohh!" I'll be here all night.

As for Hillary getting votes in Texas, Ann Coluter and Rush Limbaugh are telling their hordes to go vote for her. So there you go. It should be noted that in Texas exit polls for the Democratic primary, the votes from self-defined Republicans and conservatives split pretty evenly between Obama and Hillary, but still.. That's 50% of Republicans voting for Hillary, which is something I never thought I'd read.

At March 12, 2008 10:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's one hell of a thing to see happen, I agree. It's weirder still to be in Texas and watch it happen.

Makes me wonder. A lot.


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