A judge rejected a request from San Antonio strip clubs to block enforcement of a bikini-top ordinance they fear could "strip them of their profits."
In a double entendre-filled ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery rejected the request from the 13 strip clubs, which are suing the city of San Antonio on grounds the ordinance, which requires dancers to wear bikini tops instead of nipple-covering pasties, violates their constitutional right to free expression, the San Antonio Express-News reported Monday.
"The court infers plaintiffs fear enforcement of the ordinance would strip them of their profits, affecting their bottom line," the judge wrote. "Conversely, the city asserts these businesses contribute to reduced property values, violent crime, increased drug sales, prostitution and other sex crimes, and therefore need to be girdled more tightly. Plaintiffs, and by extension their customers, seek an erection of a constitutional wall separating themselves from the regulatory power of city government."
However, the judge wrote prior case law established "nudity and naughtiness" are not necessarily the same.
"Should the parties choose to string this case out to trial on the merits, the court encourages reasonable discovery to intercourse as they navigate the peaks and valleys of litigation, perhaps to a happy ending," Biery wrote.
The city's human display ordinance, amended last year, requires female breasts to be covered more thoroughly than with the pasties the clubs previously used. The ordinance says if the women are dressed in less than bikini tops, the clubs will qualify as sexually oriented business and be subjected to greater regulation.