Lap Dancing and Constitutional Rights

Balancing community norms and equality.

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A Pennsylvania woman filed suit against Adams Township for denying her a permit to run a lap-dance studio. Stephanie Babines and the ACLU say it violates her First Amendment rights; town officials say it's a matter of decency.

Babines and Adams Township officials can balance community norms and free expression on their own, but this portion of the AP story caught the eye:

Although Babines' classes include pole-dancing, power lap dance, strip tease and "SeXXXercise," they are all taught and performed fully clothed, the lawsuit states. Men can't take the classes, and no spectators are allowed.

Excluding men sounds downright discriminatory. At least, that's what neighboring New Jersey's Office of Civil Rights thought when it comes to Ladie's Nights at bars. And the ACLU agreed. "Where there are opportunities to create equality," said the ACLU's New Jersey chief, "we should do so." Surely the Founding Fathers envisioned a society of equal access to striptease techniques?