Missouri Justices Uphold Adult Entertainment Law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that regulations prohibiting nude dancing and limit other kinds of adult entertainment don't violate the Missouri or U.S. constitutions.

“The restrictions are not content-based limitations on speech but rather are aimed at limiting the negative secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses on the health, welfare and safety of Missouri residents,” the court said in its unanimous ruling.

The state’s adult entertainment industry sued last year to block the law's requirements. Among arguments, the industry contended that lawmakers did not consider the fiscal problems with the law; industry experts say business has been down over 75 percent at Missouri strip clubs.

The law, enacted earlier this year, prohibits full nudity at sexually oriented businesses, which now will be closed between midnight and 6 a.m.

The law also cuts off alcohol at those businesses and prohibits semi-nude (female breasts exposed below the nipple or uncovered male or female buttocks ) employees from touching customers

It also says stages on which seminude dancers perform must be at least six feet from customers and at least 18 inches high.

The law also bans new adult businesses from opening within 1,000 feet of homes, churches, parks, day care centers and schools.

In its 41-page ruling, the court said the legislature reasonably relied on testimony to determine that some activities in the clubs posed a threat to health and safety.

“The act does not ban sexually oriented businesses of any type,” the court ruled. “Rather, it seeks to reduce negative secondary effects associated with such businesses, including detrimental health and sanitary conditions, prostitution and drug-related crimes both inside and outside these locations, as well as deterioration of the surrounding neighborhoods.”