While many within the Adult Industry are still nervous about the Trump administration’s aggressive stance against porn, California might be heading towards a revolutionary reversal of its sex laws. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did hear oral arguments about legalizing prostitution.
It all started in 2015 when the so-called ESPLER Project – an acronym for Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project filed a complaint against California’s anti-prostitution laws. The group argued that the statute 647(b) of the California Penal Code, unlawfully prevents adults from excersing their rights to private consensual sex.
The ESPLER Project is represented by Louis Sirkin and D. Gill Sperlein. They took their arguments to a lower court and essentially try to get the ban on prostitution abolished. They think that whole law is unconstitutional and sued the Attorney General of California and several district attorneys.
Louis Sirkin argued that »People have the right to make a living this way. I think that the substantive due process and the right to make freedom of choices under liberty is a protected interest in engaging in sexual activity is a liberty interest that I have. Liberty interest goes piece by piece, and I think we are at this point in society that we can recognize that.«
The state’s counter-argument was: »With the commodification of sex, the state has an interest in deterring that.«
The oral arguments lasted for ca. 35 minutes. One of the key moments was when ESPLER said: »Why should it be illegal to sell something that’s legal to give away for free?«
The state’s representatives answered that they need to be able to make »choices over all the evils that arise with prostitution.«
So far, no word from the 9th circuit when it will rule on the issue.