Federal Judge Sides With Pure Pleasure Boutique

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ST. LOUIS from www.courthousenews.com – – A small eastern Missouri city must give a business license to a sex shop called Pure Pleasure, a federal judge ruled.

Pevely, pop. 5,900, denied a business license to Pure Pleasure Boutique in November 2010 based on ordinance changes the city made a month later, according to the 49-page ruling.

Pevely, 30 miles south of St. Louis, changed its ordinance in December 2010 to exclude adult stores in commercial zones.

Pure Pleasure disputed the definition of “adult” or “sexually oriented” business.

The owners claimed the store sold no pornography – just lingerie, lotions and sexy toys – and would not sell to minors. Pure Pleasure sued the city in January 2011.

U.S. District Judge Henry Edward Autrey [pictured] ruled for Pure Pleasure the day after Christmas.

“In this case, respondent not only fails to provide a specified time for rendering a licensing decision in its licensing regulations, but it has now gone a step further in suppressing protected speech and prohibiting any new ‘controversial’ businesses from opening,” Autry wrote.

“As a result of the city’s conduct, no new ‘controversial’ business can hope to get a license. Other district courts that have considered similar moratoria on issuing even Adult Use licenses have held that significantly smaller time periods preventing the opening of new adult cabarets are unconstitutional. …

“It is clear that the city’s actions are unconstitutional, particularly since they are not based on any actual showing that plaintiff will operate any ‘adult use.’ For the city to base its actions on the fear and innuendo it has injected into the facts by determining the complainant’s business is somehow not to be allowed, that further supports the relief requested by complainant.”

Autrey ordered the city to grant Pure Pleasure a business license and building permits, to connect water and sewer service to Pure Pleasure and allow it to post signs comparable to nearby businesses. The judge barred Pevely from prosecuting the business under the December 2010 ordinance and denied Pevely’s request for an injunction.

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