Sex Toy Law Passes Despite Legal Issues

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The ordinance, proposed by Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, is in reaction to a sex shop in Orangevale that opened near an elementary school. 

"This is not a ban. This and similar businesses can continue to sell all the other items in their inventory."

But the proposed law makes it a misdemeanor to sell a sex device within 1,000 feet of any place kids might be. County counsel Robert Ryan says no other community in the state has a law like this on the books.   

"This is uncharted territory in the state of California but we have attempted to craft an ordinance based on statutes or ordinances that have been upheld in other jurisdictions."

Ryan says he doesn’t think the ordinance could be challenged as a First Amendment issue since the sale of sex toys is not a form of speech. But he says there is a question over right-to-privacy.

Some courts have overturned bans on sex toys by citing the US Food and Drug Administration’s recognition of such devices for treatment of certain medical conditions.