Oklahoma City Sex Shops Battle With City Regulators

Entrepreneurs in Oklahoma City are taking the fight to city regulators after a local ordinance has resulted in multiple local sex shops receiving citations. A 1997-era ordinance has fueled an ongoing debate in Oklahoma City over whether sex shops should be more accessible to the public, with critics saying that the ordinance is overly vague and harmful to businesses.

In the past, Oklahoma City hasn’t hesitated to issue “notices of violation” to sex shops violating the 1997 ordinance restricting adult novelty stores from operating within 1,000 feet of certain areas. Sex shops must stay at least 1,000 feet away from parks, churches, residential neighborhoods, and schools, though local entrepreneurs say that rule is vague and unhelpful.

An attorney working for Christie’s Toy Box, a local adult novelty store, recently decreed that the law was totally unconstitutional, and vowed to fight it. According to The Oklahoman, Christie’s was given a notice of violation by Oklahoma City authorities and could be forced to appear in court.

“The ordinance sweeps too broadly when the same result, which is the protection of children, could be accomplished by less restrictive means,” Christie’s attorney noted to The Oklahoman.

In the past, an Adam & Eve store has battled local regulators when it faced issues with the same ordinance and had to deal with customers going online to places like Beyourlover (warning, R-rated site). A trial date of Sept. 21 was recently established in Oklahoma City for the store owners in their zoning complaint against the city and it’s 1997-era ordinance.

Entrepreneurs owning and working at the shops in question argue that their services and products are virtually indistinguishable from those offered by the likes of lingerie stores and pharmacists, who seldom face similar zoning restrictions. City officials don’t appear to be warming to the arguments put forward by entrepreneurs, however, and recently voted against repealing the ordinance that would allow such shops to open within 1,000 feet of a neighborhood.

The owner of the Adam & Eve store engaged in a legal dispute with Oklahoma City authorities hasn’t claimed the ordinance is unconstitutional like Christie’s attorney, but does insist that the ordinance isn’t needed.

“All we’re saying is there’s already a state ordinance that governs this activity, so bring the city out of it,” a city councilman who supports Adam & Eve told Fox 25. “Just we’re not going to enforce it at the city level; it’s a state issue.”

Khurram Aziz is a web entrepreneur who trained as a journalist. He is a freelance writer, runs online ventures, and consults on WordPress and Magento web development.