How very interesting to read an anti-panicky editorial in the midwestern US state of Kansas. The common-sense argument here says no cases of sex slavery have been found in strip clubs, police should pursue such cases where they do hear about them and the morality of a few should not be legislated for all. The editor asks what lawmakers should be spending their time on, especially given that a similar effort was made by anti-prostitution campaigners last year. Dizzying reasonableness.
Editorial: Strip club bill wastes time
19 March 2011, The Topeka Capital-Journal
Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate see no reason to spend time working on a bill that probably would regulate adult entertainment clubs and stores out of business. Neither do we. A similar bill was introduced and subsequently rejected last year. There’s no reason to waste more time on the issue this year, especially given other important issues — including budget deficits — facing legislators.
Supporters of the bill — known as the “community defense act” — contend adult entertainment businesses, strip clubs if you will, are host sites for illegal activities ranging from drug sales and prostitution to sex slavery. We don’t know how much, if any, marijuana or cocaine is being sold at strip clubs across Kansas, but we’re pretty sure that putting the clubs out of business entirely wouldn’t eliminate one dealer or inconvenience one user. Anyone who wants to buy illegal drugs doesn’t have to go anywhere near an adult club to find them.
As far as the adult clubs in Kansas being hot beds of prostitution and sex slavery, we know of no one who has ever produced specific cases or statistics to back up such claims. Sex slavery is a heinous crime and any law enforcement officer who really suspects it’s going on anywhere should be conducting investigations and making arrests. No, the real issue here is that the adult clubs offend the morals of some among us. We understand that, and know their moral outrage is sincere. However, legislation that would force all to adhere to the morals of some is bad legislation. Granted, no one wants a strip club next to their home, their church or their children’s school. But those are zoning issues that can be handled by local governments without state interference.
The “community defense act” would prohibit full nudity at adult entertainment clubs, force them to close between midnight and 6 a.m., require performers to stay at least 6 feet from the customers and forbid contact between performers and customers. It also would require new clubs, adult bookstores, video stores, theaters, modeling studios and sexual device shops to be more than 1,000 feet from any church, library, park, school or day care center.
Proponents say the bill, which originated in the House and was passed along to the Senate, is not an attempt to legislate morality or regulate sexually oriented businesses out of existence. It is exactly that, and no more time should be spent on it. The clubs, book stores and shops will close their doors when they aren’t generating enough traffic to make a profit. But as long as communities are supporting them financially, the Legislature should stay out of their business and find other things to do. . .