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County Ban on Alcohol|in Strip Clubs Upheld

(CN) - A Fulton County, Ga., ordinance barring alcohol at strip clubs is a reasonable infringement on club owners' free speech, the 11th Circuit ruled Tuesday.

The decision overturns a ruling for strip club owners who argued that the ordinance violated their First Amendment right to free speech.

The district court had agreed with them, finding the ordinance failed to further an important governmental interest.

The federal appeals panel in Atlanta reversed, saying the county had "relied on ample statistical, surveillance, and anecdotal evidence" in passing the ordinance, "all of which support the county's efforts to curb the negative secondary effects of alcohol and live nude dancing in its communities."

These negative secondary effects include increased crime, reduced property values and urban blight in the neighborhoods near strip clubs.

"Without question, Fulton County passed this ordinance out of a concern over the secondary effects of alcohol and live nude dancing in this community," Judge Stanley Marcus wrote for the three-judge panel.

"It is undeniable that the government has a substantial interest in curtailing such effects."

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