Poll Confirms Ohioans Want Sex Businesses Restricted

[Cincinnati, OH] – A poll conducted by a nationally-regarded research company over Mothers’ Day weekend confirmed that an overwhelming majority of Ohioans are in favor of a bill that would place constitutionally-sound regulations on Ohio’s 500-plus sexually oriented businesses.

Sexually oriented businesses in Ohio affected by such a bill would include strip clubs, massage parlors, peep booths, adult bookstores, juice bars, adult motion picture theatres and adult video stores.

S.B.16, a bill that would impose statewide the two regulations questioned in the poll, was passed by the Ohio Senate on April 17 by a bi-partisan vote of 24-8, and now is being considered in the House of Representatives.

The weekend poll of 500 Ohioans, with a margin of error of 4.4%, confirmed the following:

  1. by a margin of 65-24%, Ohioans would ask their legislators to vote for provisions similar to those of S.B.16, the Community Defense Act;
  2. by a margin of 60-27%, Ohioans support requiring sexually oriented businesses to close between midnight and 6:00am;
  3. by a margin of 68-23%, Ohioans support mandating that nude or semi-nude employees avoid any physical contact with patrons.

In spite of overwhelming bi-partisan support for such regulations, as well as current case law and court decisions supporting the two regulations of S.B.16, Representative Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee to which S.B.16 has been assigned, has indicated that a substitute bill, which would significantly alter the original version, is among options under consideration.

Specifically, Chairman Blessing suggested:

  1. that any limitation on hours of operation might be removed from the bill;
  2. that any measurable distance might be eliminated and replaced with a simple no-touching rule, a solution that law enforcement officials have testified would be problematic.

S.B.16 was passed by the Senate exactly as it was presented to the Legislature by initiative petition of 220,000 Ohioans. The bill calls for midnight to 6:00am closing and a distance of six feet between nude or semi-nude employees and patrons.

Citizens for Community Values, who organized the initiative petition effort, opposes the complete removal of a measurable distance, but would support reduction to a two-foot distance requirement – a distance already supported by a decision of the 9th Circuit Federal Court. The organization also opposes removing closing hours, a regulation supported by decisions in six federal courts, including the 6th Circuit.

Kellyanne Conway, President of the polling company, whose firm conducted the survey, observed, “Specific provisions of the Community Defense Act meet with remarkable and unusual levels of tripartisan support. Voters across the state of Ohio agree that ceasing operations of sex-based businesses from midnight to 6am and disallowing physical contact between patrons and performers are reasonable restrictions on those enterprises. They are telling members of the General Assembly to follow the Senate and pass these provisions.”

The complete poll can be found here.