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After Hollywood leaves Weinstein stain on America, a Calif court clears pathway to legalize prostitution

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Leave it to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to clear the pathway that may lead to the legalization of prostitution in the Golden State.

The federal appeals court gave legalized prostitution activists another opportunity to show why California’s 145-year ban on commercial sex should be overturned, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

More from The Chronicle:

The case was brought by three former prostitutes, a would-be client and the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Educational and Research Project. They contend the law violates the right to engage in consensual sex, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2003 ruling overturning criminal laws against gay sexual activity.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of Oakland rejected their argument last year, saying the high court ruling protected only intimate personal relationships, not commercial sex. He said the state had adequately justified the current law as a deterrent to violence against women, sexually transmitted diseases and human trafficking.


A three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit court of appeals said the plaintiffs, the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP), may proceed in their efforts.

In large part because of  today’s less restrictive standards on sex between consenting adults, as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court —  see Lawrence v. Texas.

“Why should it be illegal to sell something that it’s legal to give away?” Judge Carlos Bea asked, according to The Chronicle.

ESPLERP President Maxine Doogan likened prostitution to a constitutional right.

“Our hope is to see this bad law struck down,” she said, according to Reason.com. “So that consenting adults who choose to be involved in prostitution are simply treated as private citizens again, and are afforded all the privacy and constitutional rights thereof.”

Deputy Attorney General Sharon O’Grady said the ban on prostitution helps prevent the violence, drug use and trafficking associated with the practice.

“The state is not telling anyone who they can sleep with,” O’Grady said.

Tom Tillison


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