Nice try, but judge rules swinger sex parties unprotected by First Amendment

  06 October 2015

The town of Windsor Locks, Conn. — population 12,000 — doesn’t seem a Vegas-like magnet of bawdy behavior. For those looking for something to do, there’s the New England Air Museum and the Connecticut Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Even the nearby airport — Bradley International — isn’t that memorable.

 

But, from 2007 to 2010, a hotel in Windsor Locks was allegedly the center of quite a swinging scene of … swingers, actually. The town’s Beverly Hills Suites, according to court documents, hosted loud, lurid, alcohol-fueled affairs featuring public sex, fights and, once, a hip-hop concert by renowned performer Ludacris. And now, after a long legal battle, a federal court ruled last week the sex parties are not protected by the Constitution.

“The First Amendment claims fail because the swingers’ activity documented in the record — namely, participating in sexual encounters with others in the hotel’s bar — is not protected by the First Amendment,” Judge Michael P. Shea of the U.S. District Court in Connecticut ruled.

Shea ruled on a complaint brought against Windsor Locks by Sharok Jacobi, the owner of the now-defunct Beverly Hills Suites, in 2012. Jacobi alleged the town’s police “targeted them for enforcement activities based on animus against the plaintiffs’ customers and entertainers — young, African-American and Hispanic people — and members of the swingers’ groups who congregated for parties.”

Shea dug into the juicy details.

He noted that the hotel was the scene of fights, throwing bottles, large crowds, fire-code violations, liquor license violations and a shooting; that one party “was organized by a group known as ‘Hot Couples'”; that one man complained he and his children could see naked people from a cafe across the street from the Beverly Hills Suites; and that an undercover officer witnessed “oral sex acts in the barroom,” among other lewd acts, while a photographer snapped pictures.

The town asked the court to rule in its favor without holding a trial. And, on Sept. 30, Shea did.

“The sexual activity the Liquor Control agents described observing in the Hotel bar on November 8, 2008 …. is not constitutionally protected speech,” Shea wrote. Earlier rulings have established that being “in a state of nudity” is not an “inherently expressive condition,” and that “having sex, without more, is not expressive conduct,” Shea concluded.

“The [Hot Couples] swingers’ event involved no stage or performance aspect … and it was not accompanied by any advocacy of a particular lifestyle,” the judge wrote. “Thus, it is not protected by the First Amendment for the same reasons that prostitution is not so protected.”

 

Shea also said that the town’s investigation of the hotel didn’t squelch advocacy or information about swinging.

“Nothing about the Liquor Control investigation … prevents or punishes any expressive advocacy of the ‘swingers’ lifestyle,’ which still may flourish on websites and through other advertising,” Shea wrote.

The judge said the hotel had a purely business relationship with the swingers group that did not implicate the right to associate under the First Amendment or any speech or expressive rights.

“Thus, the Hotel does not have a constitutionally protected right of association in the swingers’ events,” he wrote. “Even the swingers themselves could assert no violation of constitutionally protected association rights.”

For similar reasons, the judge ruled that the hotel’s hip-hop concerts were not constitutionally protected.

“The Hotel’s relationship with the concert goers and performers was commercial — it hoped to earn revenue from the events,” Shea wrote.

Jacobi and Windsor Locks declined comment to the Guardian. In 2008, however, a lawyer for Jacobi perhaps best summed up his client’s view of the controversy.

“Windsor Locks must be the most crime free place in the United States if the police have time to arrest people in a private setting for having relations with each other,” J. Patten Brown III said.


Syndicated from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/06/swinger-sex-parties-not-protected-by-first-amendment-federal-judge-rules/

 

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