Judge: Strippers must wear bikini tops

Judge rules San Antonio's tougher ordinance is legal

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery denied a group of local strip clubs' preliminary injunction request against the city of San Antonio's new ordinance requiring more regulation for sexually oriented businesses. 

The ruling, released Monday, said the clubs did not prove the city violated club employees' freedom of speech rights by forcing them to cover up more of their body -- specifically, their breasts.

"We're very happy with the ruling," said Deputy City Attorney Joe Nino. "It's one of those that went the way we thought it would go."

Under the new ordinance, dancers must wear bikini tops at clubs that do not want to seek a sexually oriented business license.

"If you want to operate as a sexually operated business, you need a permit," said Nino. "A permit requires everything from background checks, making sure the building is situated the way it should be and lighting."

In his ruling, Biery cited a few local examples of media coverage of crime at strip clubs. 

The city, armed with hundreds of studies, argued that sexually oriented businesses decrease property value and increase crime.

"We just kind of go the way the community wants us to go, basically," said Nino. "So they wanted more from the city and we went as far as we think we could now with the current case law."

The attorney for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment and two of the clubs listed on the injunction denied comment. 

They can appeal the ruling or seek a trial for a final decision. 

You can read Biery's opinion here (PDF).

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.


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