Paxton Backs Dallas in Porn Show Fight

DALLAS (CN) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has come to the defense of Dallas’s ban of the Exxxotica pornography trade show, saying a federal judge should not overrule the City Council’s decision.
     Exxxotica’s organizer, Three Expo Events, sued Dallas in February and sought a preliminary injunction against the ban on First Amendment grounds.
     The City Council had voted 8-7 to ban the event as an impermissible use of a public facility under the City Code.
     Mayor Mike Rawlings acknowledged that the vote would probably result in a lawsuit, but said the event at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center would not be “good for our city’s brand.”
     The city claims that Exxxotica representative Jeffrey Handy promised that no Texas Penal Code offenses, such as obscenity or public lewdness, would happen at last year’s inaugural event. But Dallas officials said “many women at Exxxotica Dallas wore only pasties or tape covering their nipples and areolas and otherwise exposed their breasts” and engaged in otherwise prohibited “sexual activity” that was recorded.
     Paxton and the Dallas Citizens Council filed an amicus brief in support of the city on Thursday, saying the convention center is a nonpublic forum because it “is a commercial enterprise intended to promote economic development in the city.”
     “(T)he Convention Center is a nonpublic forum because the City – ‘acting as a proprietor,’ – manages the Convention Center as a commercial asset,” the 23-page brief states.
     “The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that government use of a property as a ‘commercial enterprise’ is ‘inconsistent with an intent to designate the [property] as a public forum.'”
     The brief states that even if the court agrees with Exxxotica that the convention center is a public forum, the “motion is still fatally flawed” because the city’s ban is “content neutral” and targets the “secondary effects” of the speech on the community, not the content of the speech.
     “Because the resolution is also narrowly tailored to serve significant government interests and leave open ample alternative channels of communication, it fully comports with the First Amendment,” the brief states. “Plaintiff ignores controlling precedent of both of these issues and is unlikely to succeed on the merits.”
     Paxton said a federal judge should not overturn a decision made by elected officials.
     “It is vital that governmental entities have the ability to exclude sexually-oriented businesses from property that they own,” he said in a statement. “The City of Dallas, through its democratically elected officials, has rightfully decided that its convention center should not be home to an event where obscenity and criminal activity occurs.”

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