You gotta fight for your right (to vibrate)

Talk about vibrators is once again the buzz around Alabama. The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the Alabama sex toy case, ending a nine year battle for the right to keep and bear (well, more accurately, purchase) sex toys in the state. Sherri Williams provided the money quote in this AP article:

An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court ruling that upheld the law.

Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, said she was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First Amendment free speech grounds.

“My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up,” she said.

Alabama’s anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value.”

There is currently a court injunction which prevents Alabama women from being arrested for purchasing sex toys, but Attorney General Troy King’s office plans to “to ask a federal judge to lift an injunction preventing the law from being enforced.”

This should indicate something of the nature of Troy King.

To begin, I’m inclined to agree (for legal reasons, not philosophical ones) that the Supreme Court shouldn’t have heard this case because of the states’ rights angle pertaining to the selling of such devices. However, a First Amendment angle may compel the court to act (and I’d love to hear the oral arguments).

In the meantime, taking this issue to court again is a waste of time and money. All the Alabama Legislature has to do is pass a simple bill to get rid of this archaic code. Rep. John Rogers has introduced such legislation in the past — and was, more or less, laughed off the floor.

One might think this would be a bill every legislator in the state could support. That they don’t is somewhat telling. When politicians won’t even pander to the female vote with what should be an uncontroversial issue, they show us how backwards Alabama really is.

“In reality, a shower head could be used as a sex toy,” Rogers once stated. “It’s a useless law. It makes us look like a bunch of yokels.”

When a man known to wear a sky blue leather suit on the floor of the State House is embarrassed about his colleagues, it’s time for the rest of us start paying attention.

In conclusion, this promotional video about dildos seems to be the perfect closer to such a stupid chapter of Alabama history. I’m not sure whether the true dildos are the sex toys or Alabama legislators, though.

10 Replies to “You gotta fight for your right (to vibrate)

  1. It’s not that bad here in the Fart of Dixie. There will now be a new underground market for sex toys, that’s all.

    Imagine the headline: Woman Sentenced to 30 Years for Dildo Smuggling Operation

  2. …I still don’t get why gun ownership is a constitutional right, but sex toys provoke all kinds of untoward attacks. Same thing with violence and sex on the screen — you can show a guy getting his head blown off in an R movie, but show a chick having an orgasm and it’s suddenly NC-17. We live in a culture that values violence over sex. I will never, ever understand that.

  3. Several points. To begin, a hammer, a sex toy, and a gun are all tools. Depending on the context of the person and situation in question, a penis may be (for some folks at certain times) merely a tool, too. Where the Constitution failed is that it didn’t recognize the right of the people to keep and bear hammers, rakes, and screwdrivers. On any given day someone tries to outlaw all sorts of useful things.

    With respect to movies, I agree. American (not necessarily Western) culture unfortunately does value violence over sex.

    While I’m both a military veteran and a gun owner, I clearly think violence should only be used as a last resort. That’s why I spent over a decade in the Army and why I oppose the Iraq War.

    In the 60s, folks said, “Make love, not war.”

    It seems they had their priorities straight.

  4. @PamelaInParis – the phrase “pursuit of happiness” appears in the Declaration of Independence, but not in the Constitution.

    This law is idiotic, but the SCOTUS correctly determined that the federal government has no say in the matter, as sex toys aren’t addressed by the Constitution.

    This is actually a good thing – the federal government is *supposed* to take a back seat to state governments (even awful state governments, like Alabama’s) on matters not Constitutional. Like sex toys.

    Alabama needs to fix Alabama’s puritanical problems. Washington DC can’t, and shouldn’t, impose its own solutions.

  5. It is absolutely ridiculous that they would ban sex toys.! It’s what is done in the privacy of their own homes. Who cares. As for the comment in number 18, I don’t agree with it.! I think they are just disgusted by what they don’t know. For the most part people are afraid of what they don’t know.

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