Ordinance Adopted to Ban Porn Sale Within Ark. City

Anne Winter
PALESTINE, Ark. — The City Council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance that would ban the sale of pornography within city limits, which was drafted at the request of Mayor Becky Dunn.

City Attorney Steve Routon drafted the ordinance, which gives the city the power to take any adult business considered a "nuisance" to court. Routon said he is unsure whether it is constitutional, "but you must start somewhere," he said.

The ordinance also states that "no business shall hereafter be established or located in Palestine ... which sells pornographic materials, pictures or videos."

After Routon's first reading of the ordinance to the council, Councilman Tony Burdett made a motion to suspend the rules and adopt the ordinance. The council then unanimously adopted it.

"Palestine's ordinance completely banning the sale of absolutely constitutionally protected speech can't pass judicial scrutiny," adult industry lawyer Robert Apgood told XBIZ. "The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly articulated the steps a municipality must take if it wishes to regulate this type of speech. Obviously Palestine, Ark., is struggling to stay current with the law of the 20th century. Once they get that far, perhaps it won't take them decades to catch up with the rest of us."