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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Overturns Texas Ban On Sex Toy Sales

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - The 5th Circuit struck down a Texas law that makes it a crime to promote or sell "obscene devices," defined as any device designed to stimulate the genitals. Violators face up to two years in jail. The court held that the law violates the 14th Amendmentby trying"to enforce a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct."

"The case is not about public sex," Judge Reavley wrote. "It is not about controlling commercial sex. It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the State is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct."

The court declined to explore a First Amendment claim to protect the advertisement of the devices, saying it was likely premature. Reavley added that the state could ban obscene advertisements, but it "may not prohibit the promotion or sale of a bed, even one specially designed or marketed for sexual purposes, by merely defining it as obscene."

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