Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Left-wing politicians take away your liberty in the name of children and of fighting poverty, while right-wing politicians do it in the name of family values and fighting drugs. Either way, government gets bigger and you become less free.”     Harry Browne

March 9, 2009

Outlawed in Alabama: A Tale of Two Videos

by Stephen Gordon

What do sex toys and microbrewed beers have in common?  In Alabama, they are both more-or-less outlawed.

What’s that, you say?  They don’t have statewide prohibition in Alabama, do they?

Before I respond, here’s an interesting video just produced by reason which celebrates the “American beer revolution.”

Of Alabama’s 67 counties, 14 are completely dry counties and 12 are partially dry.   While the rest of the country repealed prohibition in 1933, Alabama is still stuck in the previous century.

For those fortunate enough to live in a place where drinking is allowed, one still can’t consume many of the better beers in world.  That’s because “Alabama is one of only three states in the country that limits alcohol by volume (ABV) for beer to only 6%, and the only state that limits beer containers to a size of no more than 1 pint (16 ounces).” Fortunately, an organization called Free the Hops is working hard to change the law.

Additionally, homebrewing is outlawed in the state. Even if you happen live in one of the 41 wet counties in the state, there’s still no way to get many decent beers — unless you happen to like the choice of Bud or Bud Light.

Some might say that if you can’t have a good beer, at least you can have good sex in Alabama.  Well, that depends on whether you enjoy using one of the toys described in the not-safe-for-work video below.

It’s against the law to sell sex toys in Alabama. People have tried to challenge the case in court, but to no avail. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Alabama sex toy case.  Here’s how the AP reported it:

The U.S. Supreme Court declined today to hear a challenge to Alabama’s ban on the sale of sex toys, ending a nine-year legal battle and sending a warning to store owners to clean off their shelves.

An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court ruling that upheld the law.

Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, said she was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First Amendment free speech grounds.

“My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up,” she said.

Alabama’s anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value.”

This isn’t a case of one of those archaic laws ignored by law enforcement, either.  Alabama’s Attorney General Troy King wants to throw people in the pokey for engaging in such activities.  Fortunately, this led libertarian activist Loretta Nall to start a campaign to mail in “Sex Toys 4 Troy.” Nall personally mailed the Attorney General an inflatable pig, which led to this editorial cartoon in the Mobile newspaper.

The bottom line is, when planning your next vacation, be sure to consider Alabama.  It’s a whole lot of fun here and at least our women aren’t running around willy-nilly having orgasms all over the place.

<snark>This blog posting was brought to you by the Alabamastan Department of Tourism and Travel.</snark>


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