So, it is now illegal to sell sex toys in Alabama. Sex toys don't appeal to me but that doesn't mean that I think that people shouldn't be able to buy one. Furthermore, this is the kind of bullshit that is poisoning American political discourse. Some jackass decides that they should keep strip clubs away from areas that children frequent1 to protect children from the harmful influence. Anyone that speaks out against this is going to be savaged in the press as being pro-pedophilia or something similar, as opposed to being called pro-business and small government.
I can almost see the reasoning for this law except that this is clearly government attempting to do my job as a parent. They toss in porn stores with the bill. Most people can agree that you want to keep kids out of porn stores and sex shops. Was this a problem before the law? Were strippers hanging out near elementary schools offering lapdances for milk money? Were porn stores using cartoon characters to advertise their new selection of Drag-On-Balls Dildos? Were 9 year olds playing with mommy's neck massager? I can envision some parent saying, "Well, I sleep a lot easier knowing that my children's only access to pornography is the family computer and the bottom of my sock drawer." Heaven forbid if they had some sort of mechanical assistance.2
If I get lucky enough to have kids, I have to teach them about stuff. Stuff like hiking, camping, brushing their teeth, morals, ethics, behavior and, shockingly enough, interactions with other human beings that may include sex. That is part of your job as a parent. The idea in this law that porn stores and sex shops are somehow instantly corrupting and corrosive to communities is bullshit. If you don't want to talk to your kids about sex, that is your prerogative. Don't come crying to me when your daughter has an ectopic pregnancy or your son has some STI or STD because you never told them to use condoms and use them correctly.3
Michael Dorf at FindLaw from 2004
February 14, 2007 Ruling against the plaintiffs (PDF!)
July 28, 2004 Dissent or something, I'm not a lawyer. (PDF!)
Infamous Ann Bartow wrote a post about the February judgement or decision.
And again last Wednesday.
1 Like children hang out at truck stops. Whatever, for the sake of argument, I am going to allow the basis of this part of the law as a given, even if it is really flimsy.
2 I wonder what the people that wrote this bill would do if they caught their daughter stroking a hairbrush handle or caught their son pegging himself with a carrot?
3 I won't even begin to start on the HPV shot bullshit. That is just outrageous.