Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another victim of the dildo police

Another doozy from the "real people get whacked by stupid laws" category:
LUBBOCK, TX -- An obscure law sends one local lingerie store clerk to jail. And now she may forever have to register as a sex offender.

The lingerie store, Somethin’ Sexy was raided by police last week for violating Lubbock`s sexually oriented business ordinance.

[...]

What’s illegal and what’s not when it comes to sexual devices comes down to marketing and intentions.

"If the seller is selling it as a novelty and the buyer is buying it as a novelty to make fun of, then it probably has not reached the level of an obscenity" says [Assistant DA] Grace.

According to state law, it’s illegal to sell obscene devices with the intention of sexual gratification. But what is an obscene device and who`s going to be the judge of that?

"What’s considered obscene in LA is different than Lubbock and different than Des Moines. The community ultimately decides what is obscene" says Grace.

(HT: Sullivan) The "local standards" definition of obscenity is really problematic. What if Berkeley decides that the Republican Party is obscene? They condone torture after all, and what's more obscene than that? Maybe we can arrest them and throw them in jail for promoting obscenity.

This whole incident just seems ridiculous. What legitimate interest is the state defending by prohibiting the sale of sex toys? Isn't that the very definition of the sort of thing the government has no business sticking its nose into? Can we please get these stupid laws off the books so we can avoid embarrassments like this? It's the United States of America in 2007, fer cryin' out loud.

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