Legal questions delay new sex law

"The Kitsap County Commissioners will decide next Monday whether to accept new rules governing sex entertainment businesses.The rules would prohibit sex entertainment stores from being located near schools, playgrounds and places of worship. The proposed regulations would also require the businesses to obtain a $1,162 license and lay out other guidelines.The restrictions were encouraged by Citizens for a Quality Community, a group formed in March of 1998.“We are concerned about the harmful secondary effects of pornography in our community,” said the group’s president, David St. Martin. He listed crime, rape, sexual molestation of children, sexually transmitted diseases and the addictive nature of pornography as some of the harmful effects. The group wants to restrict adult businesses as much as possible. “Personally, I’d like to keep them out,” St. Martin said, “but that’s not something the courts will allow.”The courts require laws to focus on the secondary effects of adult businesses, without targeting indecent material that is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment.Nevertheless, sex entertainment industry workers said they felt unfairly targeted by the proposed regulations. St. Martin claims his group hasn’t targeted any businesses specifically.Although the new rules would expand the definition of adult entertainment to include adult motels, arcades, sexual encounter centers and escort agencies, only three adult entertainment businesses have been identified in Kitsap County. Castle and Lovers Package in Silverdale offer books and sexually-oriented novelty items, while Silhouettes in Gorst hosts an adult cabaret. St. Martin said his group formed when Castle announced it was opening the Silverdale store.Other adult bookstores and an adult movie theater located in Bremerton are governed by that city’s laws.Heather Jarrow, store manager of Castle, was at first troubled by the proposed county code. But she said the store won’t need to change any policies if the proposed ordinance passes because it already conforms to the proposed rules.“These really aren’t aimed toward us,” Jarrow said. “This is really more for the live entertainment industry and peek booths. This doesn’t affect us right now, but eventually, it might.” Jarrow said she plans to protest overly stringent requirements “when the time comes.”South Kitsap Ministerial Association president Rick Best said he and other pastors and community leaders have worked over the past few years to encourage the proposed adult entertainment ordinance changes.“We stand against public exploitation of sexual acts where people pay money for perverted sexual experiences. Just because two consenting adults decide to do something does not make it moral or good for society,” he said.Best said sexually-oriented businesses “tear families apart, promote sexual addictions and sexual abuse on many levels.” St. Martin said members of Citizens for a Quality Community feel that there is still more work to be done in combating the negative effects of pornography.But several adult book and novelty store workers believe many of the items they sell are innocuous and widely available. Some erotic books, for example, can also be found on the shelves of a local mainstream bookstore, and some of the massage lotion sold at a novelty shop can be found at Wal-Mart.Best and St. Martin say that is no excuse. They believe community standards should be elevated. “We as a community need to look real hard at what we both allow--and by allowing, promote--in our county,” Best said. "

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