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Court Tosses Ban On Adultland XXX’s Flag Day Sales

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A state appeals court ruled Wednesday that a western Pennsylvania township violated constitutional protections in forcing a sexually oriented business to close on minor holidays such as Flag Day.

Commonwealth Court, which overturned a Lawrence County court ruling, called Pulaski Township’s ordinance too vague.

The video and book store, Adultland XXX, faced the prospect of being shut down for a year because it conducted sales on Flag Day 2006. It previously was cited for opening on Columbus Day 2005.

The township has invoked an 1893 state banking law to determine which holidays require the business to be shuttered, but the 19th century law is not specifically mentioned in the ordinance.

“The township invokes the 1893 act but does not explain why the other holidays, such as Arbor Day, designated by the General Assembly as deserving recognition, are not also ‘state recognized holidays,”‘ wrote Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt for the unanimous court.

“It does not explain why the township did not bring action against Adultland for being open on Saturday afternoon, also a ‘state recognized holiday’ under the 1893 act,” she said.

She noted that state courts do not close for Flag Day.

“The inescapable fact is that the General Assembly has enacted numerous statutes calling for recognition of a wide variety of days and for a variety of purposes, from closing banks to exhorting Pennsylvania’s citizenry to honor the commonwealth’s long and distinguished history,” Leavitt wrote.

Dick Harper, Pulaski Township’s solicitor, said local officials had not yet decided whether to appeal, but that he believed township supervisors will consider amending the ordinance.

The business has remained open during the appeal.

In legal briefs, attorneys for Adultland and owner Eric V. Boron, of Salem, Ohio, wrote that state-recognized holidays could be read to include such obscure events as Hubert J. Humphrey Jr. Day on May 27, Commodore John Barry Day on Sept. 13, Bird Day on March 21 and Shut-In Day, the third Sunday of October.

Boron’s attorney Joseph T. Moran said the ordinance’s vagueness violated state and federal constitutional due-process rights.

“Any time that you have a law, you have to give the citizenry notice of what’s expected so they can comply with it,” he said, calling the decision “proof the court will uphold the constitution for what many would consider an unpopular appellant.”

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