(CN) - Restrictions on adult-entertainment businesses did not trample a strip club's free-speech rights, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled.
The Pink Pony got its first license to operate in DeKalb County in 1990. A lawsuit, 2001 settlement and an extension of that deal allowed the Pink Pony to operate in the county for another 23 years.
This came into question when the city of Brookhaven was incorporated in DeKalb County in December 2012, covering an area that included the Pink Pony. Brookhaven soon adopted its own sexually oriented business code, outlawing alcohol in sexually oriented businesses, as well as full nudity.
Semi-nudity, such as g-strings and pasties, is allowed.
In May 2013, the Pink Pony sued the city, claiming that its code is unconstitutional and that its extended settlement agreement with the county exempts the club from the restrictions.
The Dekalb County Superior Court dismissed the case, stating that the Pink Pony's constitutional challenge failed as a matter of law. The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously affirmed on Oct. 6 in.
Brookhaven's law is content-neutral and geared toward the goals of reducing crime and preserving neighborhoods, according to the ruling.
"Given the long history of sexually oriented business ordinances, ample precedent, and the established record regarding the deleterious effects of alcohol coupled with nude dancing, the trial court did not err by finding that, as a matter of law, Brookhaven's sexually oriented business ordinance does not unconstitutionally infringe upon Pink Pony's free speech rights," Justice Harold Melton wrote for the court.
The lower court also properly found that the new city was not bound by the Pink Pony's previous agreement with DeKalb County."This, of course, undermines Pink Pony's erroneous arguments that it had some vested right to continue operation as a nude dancing club that serves alcohol," Melton wrote.
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