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Gay-Oriented Utah Gym Wins Licensing Appeal

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - The Utah Court of Appeals ruled that Salt Lake City cannot revoke the license of a gym that caters to gay men because members were masturbating and engaging in oral sex in the steam room, because the city failed to prove that the gym or its staff condoned the lewd conduct.

Between 2003 and 2004, undercover officers observed five incidents of illicit sexual activity, including masturbation and oral sex, at the 14th Street Gym in Salt Lake City. The city issued at least two citations for the misconduct and placed the gym on a nine-month probationary period. During that time, two men were arrested as part of a sting for engaging in oral sex in the steam room. They each pleaded guilty or no contest to lewdness charges.

The city revoked the gym's license in light of the June 2005 arrests, and the district court dismissed the gym's appeal.

The appellate court found the city's decision arbitrary and capricious, because the hearing officer "made no findings that the gym or its agents or employees participated in these acts, knew they were occurring, or permitted them to occur."

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