Sexually Oriented Businesses fight back - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Sexually Oriented Businesses fight back

For years sexually oriented businesses were wide open in Memphis. But in January, tougher state laws went into effect. Now sexually oriented businesses are fighting back.

"We're not the least bit surprised by the lawsuit," commissioner Mike Carpenter said.

Carpenter voted to adopt the tougher state ordinance here, and it's not just for strip clubs. Even adult book stores must have a license, and all employees must have permits. If they violate the new rules, law enforcement can padlock their doors.

So, East Brooks Books filed this lawsuit calling the ordinance unconstitutional.

No one representing East Brooks was available for comment. But, a court order shows the company owns two stores that sell adult magazines, books, videos, and novelty items. Those stores are Getwell Book Mart and Airport Book Mart.

The lawsuit calls for the feds to put the brakes on the new ordinance, claiming it violates free speech.

"That's one of the reasons we adopted the state ordinance.  It's been tested in court and it was found to be constitutional," Carpenter said.
The lawsuit also argues adult book stores are not likely to negatively impact the community around it as the ordinance suggests.

Carpenter disagreed.

"It's been well-documented in community after community about the types of impact these businesses have on the community, from prostitution to drug use and sale to violence to increased crime in the area surrounding," Carpenter said.

The city, county and State Attorney General have yet to receive this lawsuit. So, no court date is set.

Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.

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