Love Stuff in Alabama: Supreme Court Rules Morality Can Be Constitutional Basis for Product Bans

150px-Flag_of_Alabama.svgAlabama Supreme Court has joined the debate over morality being the sole basis for legislative restrictions on citizens. The court upheld the state ban on the sale of sex toys purely on the basis that such toys are viewed as immoral. Since Lawrence v. Texas, such morality based laws have been questioned on constitutional grounds. For a prior column, click here.

At issue is Section 13A-12-200.5(4) which prohibits such sales “within 1,000 feet of a church, place of worship, church bookstore, public park, public housing project, daycare center, public or private school, college, recreation center, skating rink, video arcade, public swimming pool, private residence, or any other place frequented by minors.” It would be simpler to just ban it outright rather than pretend a tailored zone restriction when the law includes any residence, church bookstore or place with kids.

The case of 1568 Montgomery Highway, Inc. v. City of Hoover involves a business called Love Stuff in Hoover, Alabama where sex toys are sold to adults.

bolin_thThe Alabama Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the majority can ban such sales as offensive to the majority of the citizenry. Associate Justice Michael F. Bolin wrote “[p]ublic morality can still serve as a legitimate rational basis for regulating commercial activity, which is not a private activity”. It relied on the earlier decisions of the Eleventh Circuit and Fifth Circuit that such laws can be defended as rationally based on morality grounds. The court distinguished the Lawrence case.

The court ruled:

in rejecting Love Stuff’s federal constitutional challenge to [the law], we agree with the interpretation given Lawrence v. Texas by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Post-Lawrence public morality can still serve as a legitimate rational basis for regulating commercial activity, which is not a private activity. As the 11th Circuit pithily and somewhat coarsely stated: `There is nothing `private’ or `consensual’ about the advertising and sale of a dildo’.

The case could make for a fascinating appeal and finally put the question of morality legislation squarely before the Supreme Court. However, Justice Sotomayor would be an uncertainty on the question (as opposed to David Souter who would likely have voted to strike down the law).

Here is the opinion: Alabama decision

87 thoughts on “Love Stuff in Alabama: Supreme Court Rules Morality Can Be Constitutional Basis for Product Bans”

  1. Not to change the topic, but I figure this topics a wash for intelligent discussion.

    The headline got me wanting to hear this song.

  2. This was the beginning of the antisexual attitude of the RCC….
    – Mike Spindell

    Ahh the smell of fresh chum in the blogosphere, Mike is it really sporting to attract individuals who only impersonate sanity?
    FISH ON! Yells the guide.

    BTW I do adore the FL regulars on JT’s crew. (NO LISTS) 

  3. Because a person is celibate in no way implies he is homosexual or heterosexual in orientation, but to follow Georges’ logic, the “two” would be intertwined, based upon St. Pauls’ statement. Am I correct in my assumption George?

  4. Then of course you would all have to agree with my “logical” posts regarding homosexuality and pedophilia in the Church. Naw, makes to much sense..

  5. I guess anyone who professes to be celibate “must” in fact be a closet homosexual, according to your logic George..

  6. Dear Professor Turley,

    You’ve asked in other posts for us to e-mail you when we feel there are troll abuses on the site that need dealt with. I believe this is one such case. I do not have your e-mail, however, and can’t seem to find it if it is posted here. Anyway, please consider this a formal request to give a “billy” some sort of probation or suspension for the persistent personal attacks.

    Thank you.

  7. Thats’ right George, any rational, thinking person would invariably come to the conclusion that St. Paul was bipolar and homosexual, based upon the overwhelming, thought provoking evidence you have so passionatley shared. Thanks George..

  8. George, I can only hope that your “outer Limits”, insights are not reflective of the entire left -wing bloggers who post here regularly. To respond to your statement would be to give some creedence to this absurdity…

    Frankly, billy, or Wayne, or whoever, I think the KINDEST thing for everyone involved would be for Professor Turley to give you a 30 day probation from posting here. You clog up threads with your compulsory posts that attack and call names, and rarely refute anything you are called on. And when you do, it is ALWAYS personal and never based on fact or even intelligent speculation. Everything is name calling and personal tear downs. If you are a therapist or even a social worker, can you not see what you are doing and how you behave?

    Perhaps a 30 day probation would give you a chance to gain some perspective and the ability to return here with some maturity and respect for other people that post their views and discuss issues here.

    In the mean time, I choose to ignore your posts as you continually lie about your identity, and claim an advanced degree and important work in the field psychology with absolutely nothing to back it up.

    You have little to no integrity in my opinion, billy. I’m open, though. If you’d like to show some humility and humbleness, and offer an apology to all of us for being such a jerk, write away… Oh, and don’t come back posting the same way 15 minutes later — there is absolutely NO integrity in that either.

    I suspect, though, we won’t see an apology for the attacks on every here. You are always RIGHT. And no matter the scenario, the other person is always WRONG and likely an idiot to boot. Maybe you should brush up on narcissistic personality disorder.

  9. Buddha, you need to get enrolled in Psych 101 at your local community college. The gross misinformation you spread like fertilizer is only eclipsed by your narcissism and haughtiness.

  10. You’re a sociopath, billy. You have no conscience. If you did, you wouldn’t be trying to ingratiate yourself to FFLEO with your passive aggression – “police yourself” followed by “I’m sorry”.

    Hollywood’s dialog equivalent would be, “You’re such a bitch you made me hit you. I’m sorry.” Yeah. Right.

    All you care about is manipulation toward self-aggrandizement and attempting to suck up again was a predicted strategy. Too bad it won’t work.

  11. You wouldn’t understand it buddha, its’ beyond you at this stage of your development. Authentic contrition and striving to be humble are attempts at doing “the right thing”. My conscience is my barometer,not my ego..

  12. For any of my past postings that were offensive and had profane language in them I also apologize to all I may have offended and to Mr. Turley as well..

    , thankyou for allowing me to express my feelings and opinions on your thoughtful blog. Though my value sysytem and outlook is different than most here.

  13. FederalFFLEO, you mentioned my prior “vulgar” postings. I suggest you police your own behavior. You seem to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing aspects of human sexuality that are inappropriate and rather immature. I have read your past posts. You seem to delight in steering “any” post that deals with some element of human sexuality into the “gutter” further. For a “wordsmith” and very “bright” man you don’t have to wallow in the “muck”..

  14. George, I can only hope that your “outer Limits”, insights are not reflective of the entire left -wing bloggers who post here regularly. To respond to your statement would be to give some creedence to this absurdity…

  15. “I wish that all were (celebates) as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better (i.e. a lesser evil) to marry than to be aflame with passion.”
    I Corinthians: 7:7-9 – Paul of Tarsus

    Indeed, Mike. I think if one were to study Paul long enough, had an open mind about it, and was able to set aside their blind belief in the Bible, they would see that Paul was likely homosexual himself, perhaps bi-polar, and held a deep-seeded self hatred. His teachings were *frequently* inconsistent with those of Jesus, his very emotional and appeared imbalanced at times, and he had no problem dispensing moral advice like he was God Himself. Sounds like many who blindly follow his teachings today. Anyway, thanks for a good Biblical quote that highlights the fundamental problem with Christianity today: denial, self hatred, and projection. A nice psychosis cocktail, if you ask me. 😉

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