Okay, here
we go with today's MONDAY MEME! And,
oh, btw... please email suggestions for next week's.

federal judge agrees: Sexy signs just have no place near the highway.

The case came before the court when John Haltom, who owns 10 stores that sell lingerie, sex toys and adult videos in six states, filed a lawsuit last year against the attorney general's office.

He took issue with a law that prohibits most signs for sexually oriented businesses from being posted within a mile of the highway. Any business that devotes more than 10 percent of their display space to sexually oriented merchandise faced the

Haltom said the billboard law is too broad and curtails his right to commercial speech. He also said that while his businesses devote between 10 percent and 25 percent of its display space to sexually oriented items, the law was too broad to consider his locations as adult businesses.

But Fenner, who has upheld the law in past challenges, disagreed.

He also said that the law bans advertising for a store's sexually oriented business, not the store itself. It could still post billboards advertising its non-adult items, if it chose.

State Sen. Matt Bartle, who spearheaded the legislation, said he was confident the law would survive, but predicted more challenges.

Weigh in... what do you think of the law? How do you feel when you are driving along and encounter sexually oriented billboards near the highway?

Kudos to 'jc's designs'


sage said...

First of all, I'd like to do away with all billboards! Secondly, how do you define sexy content. And finally, if the billboard causes you to do a doubletake (which many of these do and that's what their designed to do), does that make driving more dangerous?

Eli Blake said...

I don't think that the first amendment prohibits states and other entities from passing reasonable restrictions on advertising. Is a mile reasonable? Hard to say.

He could get around it by finding an no longer used or unused exit, building his store there, incorporating the little area around his store as 'the municipality of Porn Palace,' and then the state would actually have to pay to put up signs, 'Porn Palace 14... Porn Palace 5... Porn Palace exit 1 mile... Exit 297, Porn Palace.' He could also include a short stretch along the highway in his 'city limits' and have a sign, 'Porn Palace welcomes you.'

See, you just have to think outside the box.

Jack K. said...

Cool ideas eli, you devious rascal you. lol

Sage does have some relevant thoughts. Picture this:

Driver driving, talking on the cell phone, trying to change the radio, drinking a beverage, eating a snack, and damn, wouldn't you know it, there is the sign for Porn Palace complete with scantily clad, sexy folks. Bummer. "But officer, if it hadn't been for the billboard I could have avoided the firetruck with lights and sirens in full operation. Was anybody hurt?"


puppytoes said...

billboards are an annoying tho' apparently necessary evil...i'm not a fan, but i recognize their "value". that said, i have no problem with the idea of restricting content, especially if it refers to items of a "sexual nature". 'cuz i'm pretty darn sure i'd have to do a double take (maybe triple) if i sped past something advertising dildos or vibrators or crotchless panties, ya know?

i am a firm believer in the first amendment, but i'm pretty darn sure the right to free speech does not give one license to promote items some folks might find offensive/inappropriate. driving down the street is not the same as watching tv, where you can simply change the channel if you don't like what you see... i mean, sure, you can change lanes, but i'm pretty sure the offending billboard is still gonna be in your face!

is a mile reasonable? i agree with eli blake, it's hard to say. (the idea of turning "the porn palace" into a municipality is pretty freaking hilarious, tho'!)

sage & jack both make excellent points regarding the danger a billboard potentially poses... tho' i think it would be extremely difficult to ban them altogether... especially these days when people are actually offering up their bodies to the "advertising gods", ya know? (in regards to that concept, what if someone was "wearing" an ad containing sexually explicit material... would they be banned from driving down those highways? just wondering...)

good question, karen! it'll be interesting to see exactly what the court deems "inappropriate" for highways...

on the entrance to the jersey turnpike just outside of pennsylvania there used to be a giant billboard for a race track featuring a well-endowed woman, which i, personally, always found a little freaky. i mean, her's were gigantic boobies, and they always seemed to kind of loom out over the road. i used to think she must have bene enormously distracting to more than a few "lonely guys"... : P

Karen said...

Just getting back here today since I posted this and gigglin' my arse off at your responses! I agree with everything said.

I've never seen sexually explicit billboards in my area on the highway (or expressway). But I have seen plenty of them in Flint (10 miles west of me) on the main drag where all the so-called massage parlors are located. I do avoid that area as much as possible, tho.

The Phoenix said...

I'd say safety is a major issue. A recent study late last year showed that drivers awareness and braking abilities were severelly hampered by viewing "sexy" images.

puppytoes said...

i'm pretty darn sure i couldn't have said "pretty darn sure" any more times here today! (sorry, i was just reading through more of the responses, and i cracked myself up!)

phoenix is right, of course, because above all else this issue is about driver safety. beyond the shock of initially seeing something provocative on the side of a billboard, imagine how some folks (guys) might ultimately respond "down the road", so to speak. oh... there are all kinds of potential problems here, i tell ya, all kinds!! (tee hee)

ffff said...

Don't like billboards, don't think they are necessary but anything sexy sure beats the hell out of adverts for guns or war!
Make love not war! Bring back the old slogans... may do some good in these harsh and stupid times!
Good one Karen.

Hale McKay said...

Is this an open expanse of highway with no private homes around? How would you like to look out your bedroom window and see a dildo plastered on a billboard? THe same can be said for driving by such a sign.
...Even pictures in and of themselves regardless of content, can be and are considered a form of pollution in some cities and towns.
...Aren't our children becoming more and more promiscuous at earlier and earlier ages as it is from magazines, movies and TV?
...As far as I am concerned, Only one parent with young kids need to complain to have the material removed from the billboard. Good thing I'm not a Federal Judge, eh?