A decision issued yesterday by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Alabama doesn't have to lift its silly, arcane 1998 law banning the sale of sex toys. The Constitution does not include a right to sexual privacy
, the panel of three judges ruled. Many Americans would disagree, including this one. To paraphrase Andrew Orlowski's brilliant quip about the INDUCE Act
, under this law one could stroll down Alabama's southern streets selling semiautomatic rifles and dildos, and be arrested for the dildos.
"In this case, the American Civil Liberties Union ('ACLU') invites us to add a new right to the current catalogue of fundamental rights under the Constitution: a right to sexual privacy. It further asks us to declare Alabama's statute prohibiting the sale of 'sex toys' to be an impermissible burden on this right. Alabama responds that the statute exercises a time-honored use of state police power -- restricting the sale of sex. We are compelled to agree with Alabama and must decline the ACLU's invitation. (...)
"Alabama's Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act prohibits, among other things, the commercial distribution of 'any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for any thing of pecuniary value.'"
This calls for massive civil disobedience. FreeTheAlabamaVibrator.com is still available, people -- it's time to stick it to the Man. Here
's the decision in PDF (Sherri Williams v. Attorney General of Alabama, case 02-16135
). More on the story here
, in a Seattle P-I piece. And during National Orgasm Week
, no less. Is nothing sacred? Here's a PDF
summarizing the state's gun laws (Alabama's congresscritters are against renewing the Assault Weapons Ban, which expires on September 13 -- evidently the state's pro-gun lobby is much more powerful than its pro-vibrator lobby). (Thanks, Baptiste Coulmont
Update: Fleshbot has just issued this
fatwa playful tease to readers who oppose the Alabama ban:
three $50 gift certificates from Eros Boutique to the three readers who come up with the best sex-toy related protest items, either by way of a vibemod prototype or Photoshopped creation. Confederate Flag Ticklers? Birmingham Ben-Wa Balls? Crimson Tide Cock Rings? Send your ideas and photos here.
You can have our Hello Kitty vibes and Cup-'o-Pussys when you pry them from our cold, dead hands, Alabama governor Bob Riley.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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