Home > News > Court: Alabama Can Continue Sex Toy Sales Ban • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


Court: Alabama Can Continue Sex Toy Sales Ban

Court: Alabama Can Continue Sex Toy Sales Ban
Get XBIZ News
XBIZ Research
Will virtual reality boost the paysite market?
Yes, it will soon
Yes, but in a few years
Out of 179 votes. Results based on votes submitted by members of XBIZ.net social network.
Mar 10, 2006 2:16 PM PST    Text size: 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In a blow to sex toy and novelty retailers, Alabama’s sex toy ban survived another court challenge in federal court.

A U.S. District Court in Birmingham ruled that Alabama has a right to limit sales of vibrators, sex dolls and butt plugs, as well as any other device used for sexual arousal.

Alabama’s sex toy statute criminalizes the commercial distribution of “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” Violations are punishable with fines of up to $10,000 and as much as a year in prison.

Sheri Williams, who owns Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, filed the lawsuit with seven other women and two men against the state Attorney General

Williams and the other plaintiffs argued the law was unconstitutional under Lawrence vs. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), in which the U.S. Supreme Court found no rational basis in public morality for banning sodomy.

But U.S. District Judge C. Smith’s latest ruling finds that the sex toy ban "does not fit squarely within the mold of Lawrence" and therefore survives review.

"[T]he Alabama statute does not offend the human dignity of a stigmatized class of individuals, nor implicate equal protection concerns about targeting a 'discrete and insular minority' for discrimination or harm out of simple hostility," Smith said in the ruling.

The case has wended its way throughout the legal labyrinth for seven years, starting with Smith’s 1999 holding that the law “was not rationally related to any legitimate state interest."

In a following legal test Smith reversed his decision, then invalidated it.

Then the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals limited Smith’s review to a more narrow issue — whether public morality is still a sufficiently rational basis to prohibit what the state's lawyers have called "commerce in the pursuit of orgasms by artificial means for their own sake."

This time around, Smith showed sarcasm after being rebuked by the 11th Circuit for not following its earlier instructions. "This lowly court," he said in a footnote, "can only hope that it has not again so woefully misconstrued the 11th Circuit’s directives."

The case is Williams vs. King, No. CV-98-S-1938.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


Adult Biz Faces More Obstacles Past Prop. 60 Battle

On Feb. 1, I completed 365 days as the Free Speech Coalition’s executive director. It was a turbulent first year, and when I received the 2017 XBIZ Industry Leadership Award I was startled, humbled... More »

Ad Networks: A Look at Compliance Issues

Among the major concerns of online marketers when evaluating advertising creatives are the return on investment, click-through and engagement rates, (re)targeting and opportunities for micro-tuning monetization.... More »

Ad Networks: Maximizing Precious Time and Resources

For traffic-savvy adult website operators and marketers, buying ad space and premium placement on select sites is a proven method for attracting audiences. This has traditionally involved studying a site’s... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ Premiere magazine, the industry's leading adult retail trade publications, delivering the most timely and comprehensive business news and information to producers and retailers of adult products.



Mar 31 - Apr 02
Denver, CO.

Eurowebtainment 2017

May 17 - May 20
Majorca, Spain

XBIZ Retreat

May 30 - Jun 03
Miami, Florida

XBIZ Miami 2017

May 30 - Jun 02
Miami, Florida
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!