A lawsuit was filed last month by multiple San Antonio strip clubs that claims new restrictions placed on sexually oriented businesses by the City Council are unconstitutional restrictions on free speech, according to KEGL.
“For many years now, the Supreme Court has found that exotic dances is protected by the first amendment,” Attorney Luke Lirot tells 1200 WOAI’s Micahel Board.
The San Antonio City Council tightened its restrictions regarding what businesses qualify as sexually oriented, how much skin has to be covered, and also toughened up on zoning regulations for operating.
“Such enforcement eliminates, prevents, chills and or discourages and ultimately totally restrains Plaintiffs from owning, operating and participating in the presentation of constitutionally protected free speech in the form of dance performances, now arbitrarily banned in San Antonio,” the lawsuit reads.
According to the seven strip clubs that filed the lawsuit, “The presentation of expressive dance performances is a beneficial social activity which creates an improved self image for the dancer and joy and entertainment for the beholder. The plaintiffs consider the appreciation of the human body, an integral component of the exotic dance performances described herein, which exhibit the socially accepted and or popular contemporary concepts of physical ability and attractiveness a socially fulfilling experience for both performers and patrons.”
The lawsuit challenges the premise that the new rules were necessary because sexually oriented businesses increase crime while dropping property values.
“The operation of the businesses has not caused decreases in property values, increases in criminal activity, or the acceleration of urban blight.”
The new regulations are being challenged on the basis of discriminatory against immigrants too. This is because a person must show “a valid and lawful photographic identification card that was issued by a governmental authority of the United States.” This means that residents of foreign countries would not be allowed to partake in the industry.
The lawsuit is asking to have the new regulations dismissed and that the clubs be rewarded damages “for the deprivation of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” The amount would be decided by the court.