It's official. By the time you're reading this, if a strip club patron shakes hands with a fully-clothed stripper before or after their shift, that patron could be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Such is the current state of conservative theocracy Ohio has been reduced to in the last year.
It started out innocently enough. Anti-smoking campaigns nationwide spouting fabricated evidence and scare tactics lead to Ohio's referendum on smoking in public. Granted, it was under the guise of a well-intentioned effort to make the public air safer for non-smokers, but what was actually done was more far-reaching than anything that could be called well-intentioned. And let's be honest here, how many of you have actually SEEN all these studies that alledgedly exist somewhere? You know, the ones that prove in an unbiased fashion that people who sit in the non-smoking section of a restaurant for a couple hours a week are dropping like flies due to lung cancer from second-hand smoke. I mean they must exist somewhere, even though nobody's ever actually seen them. I mean it isn't like people would fabricate evidence to try and legislate their idea of morality onto anyone else. Or would they?
It started as a simple idea. Protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke while they're in public so they don't die of cancer while they're out ingesting high-fat, high-cholesterol restaurant foods. Or while they're at a bar poisoning their livers. Or at a rock concert snorting coke. But what actually passed went further than what could actually be called protective. Apparently, not only do people need protected while inside public buildings. Apparently, people are also dropping dead while walking from their car to the entrance of such buildings, so people can't smoke outside public buildings either. Apparently, the only place people can smoke without causing rampant death and destruction is either at their own homes or in their car with the windows rolled up. And do you know what happens to these offenders who dare light up within a few hundred yards of another living human being?
Nothing. They don't get punished themselves, but the owner of whatever establishment they happen to be at gets fined thousands of dollars. So not only are we telling smokers they can only smoke in their home or car, we're putting public business owners in the position of being held responsible for chasing off any smokers for fear of being fined. But of course, when it came time to vote, people only heard and saw the endless anti-smoking propaganda with their loud scare tactics and their sourceless statistics. So Ohio went to the polls and told our government to start legislating morality for us, as we are unable to make our own decisions.
Fast forward about a year and look what has happened. Cincinnati based Citizens for Community Values, a group of self-righteous, Bible-thumping, puritanical witch-hunters high on the smell of their own farts, gathered a petition aimed at snuffing out the sex industry in Ohio altogether. These religious zealots claimed that businesses that deal in adult entertainment, such as strip clubs and adult bookstores, lead to crime, drug use, prostitution, and neighborhood blight. So this group of morality police got a petition and went to the state legislature to forcibly impose their idea of morality onto the rest of the state. Once again, their motives sounded protective, but once again, the bill that wound up on Governor Ted Strickland's desk was far beyond anything that could be called protective. The message was very clear. The Citizens for Forcibly Imposed Values wanted the adult industry out of Ohio for good, and Ohio's legislature bowed to the wishes of this small group of Puritanical oppressors.
The bill that went before Governor Strickland made the following changes to the adult industry:
Strip clubs must cease all nude activity at midnight. Strip clubs with liquor licenses may stay open until 2:00am, but may have no nude entertainment after midnight.
Patrons of strip clubs may not touch strippers, even if they are fully clothed or not performing at the time. Doing so is a fourth-degree or first-degree misdemeanor, depending on which body part the patron touches.
Adult bookstores, adult movie theatres, and anywhere else that provides anything that could be construed as "adult entertainment" must close up shop at midnight.
Cities and townships are protected from lawsuit damages if they choose to impose even more restrictive laws on adult businesses, giving the green light for illegal and unconstitutional legislation across the state.
And these rules will reduce crime and neighborhood blight...how? You see, if the bill were actually something that would improve any of this, instead of just being a blatant attempt to remove the industry altogether, I could understand it. But the difference between the offered-up rationale and the end resulting legislature is far too great to be an attempt to protect anyone from crime. I don't understand how strip clubs and adult bookstores lead to drug use. I don't understand how adult bookstores lead to prostitution. I don't understand how any adult business is going to lead to neighborhood blight. These businesses aren't being put next to pre-schools or or in the middle of suburban neighborhoods. The neighborhoods they're in are already areas with a lot of night-time bar and club activity anyhow. The only thing that I can even see would be that it leads to prostitution and some handsy behavior by people in strip clubs. I'm not stupid, I know some shady things happen between drunk people and in the champagne rooms. But the bill that passed doesn't help solve any of that. If the bill would have taken away champagne rooms or required clubs to hire security from a third party company as a way of making sure nothing funny is going on, I could understand such a bill.
But what the bill actually does is severely cut into the income of adult businesses. A very large portion of strippers' income is from lap dances. Not anymore, so they have less incentive to work at such places. And not only will these clubs start to lose some of their workers who are making less money, but they'll lose a very large portion, if not a majority, of their income because of the midnight closing restriction. We're looking at the potential death of a multi-million dollar industry in Ohio, leading to thousands of lost jobs, homelessness, crime, and neighborhood blight. Which is what the Citizens for Forcibly Imposed Values wanted all along. They don't give a damn about the community or crime, they just don't like the adult industry and feel they have the right, or rather the obligation, to stamp it out for good.
So the bill came to Governor Strickland's desk. The one person who could have taken a stand for the state on censorship and moral legislation. And he took a very firm stand. He showed the entire state once and for all what a spineless coward he is by publicly disagreeing with the bill, conceding that it may not be constitutional, refusing to sign the bill, and still allowing it to pass. Thank you Governor Strickland.
To no surprise, the adult industry has not taken this lying down. They formed a group to protest the new law and get a petition going to get the bill decided by referendum in next month's election. Naturally, they were sued by the Citizens for Forcibly Imposed Values for intentionally choosing a name similar to their as a way of thumbing their nose at the zealots. So the renamed group Vote No On Issue 1 set out to get the law on the ballot to let everyone decide whether a group of Cincinnati Bible thumpers has the right to dictate our entertainment. With just a couple months to get the 200,000+ signatures required, Vote No On Issue 1 collected more than double the required signatures, but miraculously, the vast majority were not found to be valid for one reason or another during the vast scrutinizing process the original petition was not subjected to, even though it led to legislation.
Before you all send me hate mails about how I'm only ranting about this because I'm a chain-smoking pervert who spends all his money on cigarettes, porno, and strippers, let's get something clear. I'm not a smoker, and have never been a smoker, so the smoking ban doesn't affect my lifestyle one bit. I haven't been to a strip club in about four years, and frankly didn't care for the experience that much when I went. To me, it doesn't make sense to be horny, go to a strip club, spend a lot of money, get even more horny, then come home, still horny. It just seems like a waste of money to me, so the restrictions on strip clubs don't affect my lifestyle. If I want to go to a porn shop, I'm perfectly comfortable doing it in broad daylight because I'm not ashamed of it, so that part of the law doesn't affect my lifestyle either.
But all facets of this law affect not only me, but every citizen in this entire state. The fact is, we're having morals legislated onto us by a minority group with a religious agenda. Every time we as citizens allow our rights and our options to be taken away by others, it makes it all the easier to do so in the future. What will be the next thing to go? Will they ban hockey since it glorifies fighting? Will they close bars because people drive drunk? Will they close dance clubs because one-night stands lead to STD's and teen pregnancy? Will they ban R-rated movies because they glorify sex and violence? What about TV? Music? What about the Bible? The Bible has more sex and violence than any movie or TV show I can think of. Where will it end? How long before something you enjoy is taken away from you?
The real question now is, now that you know what's happening, what are you going to do? Are you going to write your representative and tell them to allow Ohio to make up its' own mind about what is appropriate entertainment? Are you going to tell your friends and family to do the same? Are you going to wait to say something until something you enjoy comes under fire? Or have I already lost your attention?
So here we stand, Ohio. I have to say, I don't know if I'm more angered at the thousands of self-righteous bigots who assume they can decide what is and is not acceptable entertainment, or if I'm more saddened by the millions who stand by and let them. Ohio, wake the fuck up.
people are so mad about this that they're going to fume about it now, then forget it in 15 minutes