Alabama Supreme Court restricts sales of dildos and vibrators based on “public morality”

October 4, 2009 | By | Reply More

In the recent decision of 1568 Montgomery Highway v. City of Hoover, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the Alabama Legislature’s prohibition of dildos and vibrators, basing this decision on “public morality.” More specifically,

In its second counterclaim, Love Stuff asks to have Ala. Code § 13A-12-200.2 (which generally bans the sale of sex toys) deemed unconstitutional.

The trial Court had found that “The target market for Love Stuff [the name of the store in question] consists of females, ages 32-52.”  The Court held that commercial public sales of devices geared toward masturbation can be prohibited (though the Court suggested that the decision would be otherwise if the devices were handed out gratuitously or if they were sold at private “Tupperwear”-like parties).

Geoffrey Stone harshly disagrees with the decision of the Alabama Supreme Court and properly characterizes this as an improper exercise of religion:

[W]hat is it about the use of a vibrator or a dildo that affronts the “public morality”? Why is a person who uses such a device “immoral”? The answer, I submit, turns entirely on religion. The pivotal shift from the world of the classical Greeks to our contemporary world, in this respect, was the advent of Christianity, with its emphasis on sexual pleasure as sinful. Much of this can be traced to Augustine, who reasoned in the fifth century that sexual pleasure was integrally related to Adam’s Fall from Grace. Adam’s original sin, he argued, had not been one of pride or disobedience, but of sex. Thus, sexual pleasure was born out of evil, and man’s best hope for redemption lay in repudiating the sexual impulse and, with it, the burden of guilt inherited from Adam. Sexual pleasure was therefore deemed defiling and shameful.

I agree with Stone’s thorough analysis

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Category: Good and Evil, Sex

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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