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Judge throws out strip club lawsuit

GRAND RAPIDS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city of Grand Rapids, claiming its strip club ordinance is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit stems from a city ordinance that bans nudity and requires dancers to stay six feet away from customers.

Owners of two strip clubs filed two separate lawsuits after the city adopted the ordinance in April.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell threw their cases out, saying the arguments were without merit.

The city attorney’s office is pleased with the decision because it upheld all of the components of the ordinance. Up until this point, federal courts have upheld parts of similar ordinances in other cities.

“I’m extremely pleased. You never are sure if this will go your way, but he did everything we hoped for, and we are extremely pleased,” said Judy Rose of the Black Hills Citizens for a Better Community, whose group pushed for the ordinance.

City officials said they would not support a strip club ordinance if private groups could not come up with the money to defend it.

The Black Hills Citizens for a Better Community claims it has $102,000 in pledges from unnamed donors. So far, the group has spent about $30,000 in legal fees.

The next step will be an appeal, at least from one of the plaintiffs – The Little Red Barn Adult Theatre and Bookstore. The attorney representing the Sensations Nightclub had no comment.

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