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Utah Supreme Court Upholds Nude Dancing Ban
By: Carlos Martinez (Courtesy of
Posted: 8/5/2006

Salt Lake City – The Utah Supreme Court has upheld an ordinance prohibiting nude dancing at strip clubs and other adult entertainment businesses.

American Bush, a strip club in South Salt Lake, sued in November 2003 to overturn the city’s ordinance against nude dancing which was passed in March 2001. It required dancers to wear at least a G-string when dancing, KUTV-TV reported last week.

A previous law allowed nude dancing if a club did not allow alcohol.

Lawyers for American Blush argued that the state constitution protected nude dancing, but the state high court ruled 3-2 against the club.

Justice Jill Parish wrote in the decision that free speech protection does not extend to nude dancing, adding that it is contrary to the intent of the state constitution.

“Were we (to overturn the ordinance), we would not be interpreting the constitution, but substituting our own value judgment for that of the people of Utah when they drafted and ratified the constitution. It is not our place to do so,” she wrote.

But Chief Justice Christine Durham disagreed, saying in her written opinion that the framers of the constitution did not outline the right to nude dancing in the document, but that they did seek to protect communication.

“I believe the relevant initial questions are whether nude dancing is communicative and whether nude dancing is an abuse to freely communicate,” he wrote.

The club’s attorney, W. Andrew Bush said he was disappointed in the court’s decision, but not surprised given the mostly Mormon community’s conservative politics.

McCullough said he is optimistic that he’ll win in a federal court where the club is also challenging South Salt Lake’s ordinance based on so-called “secondary effects” caused by nude dancing. He added that he hopes the case goes before the U.S. Supreme Court in October when it reconvenes.




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