Supreme Court OKÕs Sex Shop Shutdown

January 12, 1999 12:00 am

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ACLU News Wire: 1-12-99 — Supreme Court OKÕs Sex Shop Shutdown

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NEW YORK — In a ruling that the New York Civil Liberties Union deemed an unconstitutional infringement on free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a new antipornography zoning law, the New York Times reported today.

The court’s decision upholds a law limiting adult establishments to manufacturing areas and forbidding them near schools, churches and other sex shops.

“I think it’s fair to say that history will look back at the period and note that it was an extremely repressive climate,Ó Norman Siegel, Executive Director of the NYCLU told the New York Times.

City officials told USA Today that it estimated that all but 17 of the 155 sex shops in the city would have to move, close or change their business as a result of the ruling. Many of the stores already have closed or moved to industrial zones in Brooklyn and elsewhere, said the paper.

Civil liberties advocates said that the effect of the regulation is to stifle expression covered by the First Amendment.

“You may not like it, I may not like it, but it’s protected,” Beth Haroules of the NYCLU told USA Today. “The City should have used less intrusive regulation.”

Haroules told USA Today that she was concerned the city would enforce the regulations aggressively by “sending what amounts to SWAT teams into establishments they believe are adult-oriented.”

Sources: The New York Times, January 12, 1999
USA Today, January 12, 1999

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