1. Pennsylvania Town Says Couple Runs Swingers' Club Inside Church
2. Shrinks: Kinky Sex is a Mental Disorder
3. Duncanville court postpones trial for 'Cherry Pit' swingers club owners
4. Duncanville police arrest co-owner of Cherry Pit swingers club
5. Tribeca S&M palace raided; owner, 'Domina' held on prostitution raps
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom -- Media Update
September 21, 2008
NCSF Media Updates represent a sampling of recent stories printed in US
newspapers, magazines, and selected websites containing significant
mention of SM-leather-fetish, polyamory, or swing issues and topics.
These stories may be positive, negative, accurate, inaccurate - or
anywhere in between.
NCSF publishes the Updates to provide readers a comprehensive look at what
media outlets are writing about these topics. NCSF permits and encourages
readers to forward these Updates where appropriate.
"Pennsylvania Town Says Couple Runs Swingers' Club Inside Church"
by Todd Connor
September 19, 2008
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania couple is fighting to maintain a church they
run from a Huntingdon Township home, which officials say is really a
raunchy swingers club where single men have to pay for access but women
come for free.
John and Kim Ondrik say they worship nature at the Church for Spiritual
Humanism. But midnight mass at the Spiritual Palace is on hold as the Rev.
John and his wife fight for a variance to continue practicing their
religion in a residential area just outside of Pittsburgh.
Opponents of his church, including neighbors and North Huntingdon Township
officials, say what's really behind those closed doors is a club called
the "Swinger's Palace."
Township commissioner Richard Gray said it's been an open secret that a
swingers club has operated out of the two-story house since the 1970s, but
they finally have the evidence to shut it down.
Gray said the dispute is not about church or sex ? it's about having a
business operating in a residentially zoned area.
"The mere fact that they were charging a mandatory fee to get in, in my
opinion, would constitute a business," he said.
An attorney representing John Ondrik told FOX News that members in the
private church give a donation and aren't charged to get inside the
midnight masses, which typically take place on Friday and Saturday nights.
"You have a right to run a church in a residential area not because of
your free exercise rights under the Constitution, but simply because
churches are not primarily commercial," said Bruce Ledewitz, a law
professor at Duquesne University.
Ledewitz said the Ondriks might have a case if they can convince
authorities they're sincere about their religion and that they truly
believe in their church.
But keeping the Palace open might be a tough sell. Its Web site, which was
recently taken offline, showed that couples were charged an admission of
$50 while single men had to pay $75. Single women could attend free of
Self-described swinger "Dave" said he and his partner paid money to get
into the club. "You didn't get in without paying money. If you didn't pay
your money you were going back out the door."
To read this entire article, go to:
"Shrinks: Kinky Sex is a Mental Disorder"
by staff writer
September 19, 2008
According to doctors, people who engage in kinky sex are just plain nuts.
Find out why --- and what's being done about it.
People who engage in adventurous sex are now being labeled with a "mental
health illness," according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders or DSM. Yup, that's right, the official handbook of
psychiatry has now added kinky sex to its list of mental disorders.
In other words, if you indulge in role-playing, enjoy the feel of hot
candle wax, or use handcuffs (even the furry kind!) you're considered
someone who has a "mental disorder characterized by a preference for or
obsession with unusual sexual practices." The shame!
This isn't the first time the DSM has stirred controversy: Until 1974,
homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder. And now engaging in "wild"
sex which, for some people, that just means "normal," is a sign one has
lost their marbles.
?A group called the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has launched a
petition to get "BDSM" (bondage, role-playing, punishment, discipline, and
fetishes, just to name a few) out of the DSM. In fact, they published a
paper on the topic here, and invite people to support their endeavor. They
are also asking that APA to base its conclusions on science, not on the
mainstream idea of what's considered "normal."
Why is this so important? If you meet the criteria for a DSM-approved
disorder, it could affect you at the workplace -- and even in child
To read this entire article, go to:
of the page
"Duncanville Court Postpones Trial for 'Cherry Pit' Swingers Club Owners"
by Jon Nielsen
The Dallas Morning News (Texas)
September 18, 2008
Duncanville's municipal court postponed a trial date today for the Cherry
Pit owners accused of violating the city's sexually oriented business
The cases will be heard Oct. 27. The original date was set for Monday.
At issue in the municipal court case is about a dozen citations issued to
owners Julie M. Norris, 30, and Jim Trulock, 59, for running the swingers
club out of their home. The city has targeted the home, which sits on a
wooded residential lot on North Cedar Ridge Drive near Interstate 20, for
operating a sexually oriented business without a license and in a
residential neighborhood. City leaders and investigators maintain that the
home is a business because patrons are asked for a donation to attend
weekend and holiday parties.
Further complicating the case are the recent arrests of Mr. Trulock and
Ms. Norris on suspicion of serving alcohol at an unregistered club. The
Class A misdemeanor carries up to a one-year jail sentence or a fine up to
To read this entire article, go to:
Duncanville police arrest co-owner of Cherry Pit swingers club
by Jon Nielsen
The Dallas Morning News (Texas)
September 17, 2008
Duncanville police arrested the co-owner of a swingers club known as the
Cherry Pit on Wednesday.
The arrest of Julie M. Norris, 30, comes a day before a scheduled pretrial
hearing in the case against the notorious Duncanville sex club. Mrs.
Norris was charged with violating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code for
operating an unregistered club, a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, she
can serve up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $4,000.
The co-owner of the Cherry Pit, 59-year-old Jim Trulock, was arrested on
the same charge earlier this month.
Duncanville city officials have said that the couple is illegally
operating an unlicensed club in a residential neighborhood near Interstate
20 and North Cedar Ridge Drive. The City Council issued a ban in November
on sexually oriented businesses, but police documents show parties
continue at the home. City leaders say that patrons to the home are asked
to donate money to get into the home where alcohol is served.
During a pair of July raids at the home, authorities confiscated large
amounts of alcohol and "fun money" used to purchase sex acts.
To read this article, go to:
The Dallas News
"Tribeca S&M Palace raided; owner, 'Domina' Held on Prostitution Raps"
by Barbara Ross, Kerry Burke, and Alison Gendar
The New York Daily News (New York)
September 17, 2008
A Manhattan S&M club that billed itself as the "Leading House of
Domination in NYC" was put out of business Wednesday after the NYPD busted
its manager and seized its business records.
The ladies at the Walker St. club, Rapture, all had "extensive and
rigorous" training in the art of bondage, and customers of the Tribeca
dungeon were whipped and poked by professionals, its advertising claimed.
"Each Domina is uniquely qualified to deliver the fantasy," the club's Web
Rapture promised "immaculately clean" and fully equipped rooms capable of
offering everything from "light play" to "heavy suspension and complex
The NYPD had received numerous complaints from the club's unamused
neighbors that the third-floor operation was a straight-up house of
prostitution - despite the club's claims to the contrary.
"We do not engage in any form of prostitution whatsoever, so don't even
ask!" the ads claimed.
The NYPD's Manhattan South vice unit busted Collin John Reeve, 35, on
Tuesday for promoting prostitution and collared one of his ladies, Gina
Noto, 21, for prostitution, police said.
Noto, who is studying to become a nurse-practitioner, allegedly offered an
undercover vice cop a "prostate massage" for cash, court records stated.
On the walls of the club were lists of at least 17 dominatrices - and a
list of their special skills.
Whips, chains, hoists and sex toys filled the rooms.
Cops went back to the club Wednesday with a search warrant and seized
Rapture's business and payroll records, said Capt. Steven Braille,
commanding officer for the vice squad.
Braille said the investigation was ongoing and declined to discuss whether
other arrests were pending or whether customers were also under scrutiny.
Reeve's lawyer said his client was no pimp but a war veteran from the 82nd
Airborne Division who was honorably discharged.
"The NYPD does not know the difference between prostitution and freedom of
expression," said Reeve's attorney Salvatore Strazzullo.
"There is nothing on the books that states S&M is illegal," Strazzullo
"The City of New York should know the difference between prostitution and
a perfectly legal S&M dominatrix house," he added.
To read this entire article, go to:
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By David McGuire
December 19, 2001, Washington, DC -- A small civil liberties group has asked a federal judge in New York to revoke what remains of an Internet pornography law that was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997.
In a complaint filed in a New York City Federal Court [http://www.USCourts.gov ] last week, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom [https://ncsfreedom.org ] argued that the court should overturn the provisions of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) that prohibit Web sites from displaying obscene material online.
"Many people are unaware that one of the most powerful censorship provisions of the Communications Decency Act [http://EPIC.org/cda] is still in place. Even fewer realize the dangerous effect it could have in the hands of an overzealous administration and attorney general,"NCSF spokesperson Susan Wright said in a prepared statement. Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the CDA drew a barrage of criticism from industry groups, publishers and civil-liberties advocates.
In addition to prohibiting online obscenity -- which was already illegal in physical form -- the law called for Web site operators to be held criminally responsible if they allowed children to view constitutionally protected "indecent" material online.
Only the most graphic pornography and sexually explicit material meets the legal standard for obscenity. Milder sexually explicit material -- nude photos, erotic stories and the like -- may be considered indecent. But such material is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A broad coalition of public interest groups -- including the American Library Association [http://www.ALA.org], the American Civil Liberties Union [ http://ACLU.org ] and the Center for Democracy and Technology [http://CDT.org ] challenged the indecency provisions of CDA, on grounds that it could crimp the rights of adults to view constitutionally protected speech online.
The groups convinced a lower court to freeze those provisions; that decision eventually was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the NCSF, which promotes sexual freedom and counts as members many operators of sexually explicit Web sites, maintains that the remaining online obscenity ban in CDA has a chilling effect on Web site operators who want to post sexually explicit materials.
The NCSF specifically argues that the "community standards" test in federal obscenity law is meaningless in global world of the Internet.
The obscenity ban in CDA is based on a decades-old obscenity standard that applies to printed materials, films and photos.
Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) Associate Director Alan Davidson, who was involved with the original CDA challenge said that the obscenity language in CDA was deliberately left out of the first challenge for that very reason. "The concept of prohibiting obscenity speech -- as controversial as it may be -- has been relatively well-settled law for many decades now," Davidson said. "The focus of the original challenge was on the area of greatest threat to free speech, which was the indecency provision."
Most of the original CDA challengers are now in the midst of fighting another law -- the Child Online Protection Act [ http://COPACommission.org ] -- which was passed by Congress shortly following the Supreme Court ruling in CDA. That law has been dubbed "CDA II" by its opponents. The Supreme Court heard arguments on that legislation last month.
Copyright © 2001 The Washington Post Company.
By Julia Scheeres
Wired, December 12, 2001
A national organization that promotes sexual tolerance and an artist who photographs pictures of couples engaged in sadomasochism filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn Internet obscenity laws.
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and photographer Barbara Nitke argue that the obscenity provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is so broad that it violates free speech.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, names as plaintiffs Attorney General John Ashcroft and the U.S. government, and aims to blot out the remaining censorship provisions of the CDA, a measure passed to protect minors from online pornography. Violators of the act face fines of up to $250,000 and two years in prison.
The CDA was first attacked in the 1997 case Reno v. ACLU, when the Supreme Court struck down provisions related to indecency, ruling that the law harmed constitutionally protected free speech.
The act's obscenity provisions are targeted by the new challenge.
The murky semantics of the terms "obscenity" and "indecency" have long been the bane of First Amendment lawyers. (For the ACLU's take on the debate, click here).
The CDA defined indecent material as "any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs." The Supreme Court ruled in the Reno v. ACLU case that this broad definition unfairly criminalized speech about a variety of benign topics related to sexual health, such as contraception.
The Supreme Court ruled that obscene speech -- which is not protected by the First Amendment -- must meet the following three criteria: 1) it must be prurient in nature, 2) it must be completely devoid of scientific, political, educational or social value, and 3) it must violate local community standards.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday claims that the obscenity provision outlined in Section 502 of the CDA is so vague and arbitrary that it could violate speech that should be protected.
The sticky words here are the so-called "local community standards," said John F. Wirenius, the plaintiffs' legal counsel and an attorney for civil rights firm Leeds, Morelli & Brown.
"Obscenity is unprotected speech, but not all material is obscene from jurisdiction to jurisdiction," said Wirenius. "Material may be considered obscene in Utah, for example, but not in New York. Whose standards are supposed to be applied to the Internet?"
His clients fear that their content will be judged by the most conservative standards, making them vulnerable to obscenity charges.
"Most people don't realize that one of the most strident censorship provisions of the CDA is still in place," said Susan Wright, spokeswoman for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. "The CDA is still having a chilling effect on Americans who operate websites -- they either have to resort to self-censorship or risk prosecution."
Wright, who said her coalition has 10,000 members from alternative sexual groups, insisted the material produced by her organization was not obscene but that it could be considered so in certain Bible-banging realms of the country.
Plaintiff Barbara Nitke said the Internet is one of the few places where she can exhibit her controversial photographs and worried that this venue might soon be closed to her.
"I strongly believe that people who want to see my work or the type of work I do by other artists should have the right to do so," said Nitke. "But I feel this act will be used against me eventually and that worries me."
But others said the quest to overturn the CDA is a long shot.
Previous First Amendment challenges to obscenity laws have failed in court, said Miriam More, a legal policy analyst for the conservative Family Research Council, which blames pornography for crimes ranging from rape to assault.
Conservative groups such as the FRC do not see the merit of the content produced by sites such as the coalition, and regard their material as porn, plain and simple.
"Obscenity laws should be upheld on the Internet for the same reason they're upheld elsewhere," said More. "When the pornography industry is left unregulated, it keeps pushing to see how far they can go. They never say 'We've done Anal Gangbang One so we don't need to do Farm Gang Bang.'Â The laws need to be enforced."
By David Steinberg
Spectator Magazine, January 11, 2002
"No matter how we're wired to express love, freedom is having the courage to be who we are." - Photographer/plaintiff Barbara Nitke
On December 11, Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom brought suit in New York City's Federal District Court, seeking to have the last remaining censorship provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act declared overbroad, vague, and therefore unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The suit, which will be heard this spring by a three-judge panel headed by Judge Richard Berman, is a sequel to the 1997 action by the American Civil Liberties Union, Reno v. ACLU, that resulted in the Supreme Court unanimously striking down the provision of CDA that criminalized indecent, "patently offensive" material broadcast over the Internet. The aim of Nitke v. Ashcroft is to have the ruling extended to CDA's criminalization of obscene material as well.
The Communications Decency Ac was the first Federal statute attempting to regulate sexual material broadcast over the Internet. CDA makes it a Federal crime to transmit any obscene or indecent "comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication" over the Internet, if such material can be viewed by people under 18. The question of what is obscenity or indecency has always been a complex one.
The current Federal definition of obscenity, the Miller test, stems from a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Miller v. California. Under the Miller test, material is legally obscene only if it is sexually explicit, patently offensive according to "local community standards," and lacks any "serious literary, artistic, social, educational, or scientific value. "Sexually explicit material that does have serious social value, but is still offensive according to local community standards, falls into the legal category of indecency, even though it is not obscene. As a result, it can legally be subjected to some degree of government regulation. The supreme Court has ruled, for example, that the times when indecent material can be broadcast on television can be limited to certain late night hours, when it is presumably less likely to be seen by children.
The community standards provision of the Miller ruling allowed the Supreme Court to acknowledge that material considered obscene or indecent in a small town in rural Kansas may nonetheless be quite acceptable in Manhattan or San Francisco, and to avoid imposing one standard on the entire nation. Indeed, courts have ruled that the local community standards that are applied to questions of obscenity and indecency can vary not only city by city and state by state, but even from one city neighborhood to another.
Under Miller, publishers and distributors of erotic and sexual books, magazines, films, and videos have become accustomed to making complicated decisions about where and how they want to market their products. Many mail-order companies choose not to market products in states like Utah and Alabama that they promote extensively in more sexually progressive parts of the country. Other companies choose not to process mail orders from certain states at all. By restricting their marketing, companies are able to choose which local community standards they want to subject themselves to with regard to potential obscenity or indecency charges. Companies also insure themselves against selling to minors by having potential customers certify that they are over 18 years of age.
On the Internet, however, the possibility of all such geographical and age verification vanishes. When a store, publisher, artist, or writer puts erotic and sexual material up on their website, that material immediately becomes available to people from the most progressive to the most conservative communities in the country and, more broadly, in the world. Furthermore, issues of obscenity and indecency on the Internet extend beyond the sale of products to such simple acts as viewing an artist's work, or reading a writer's short stories. Is there an identifiable Internet community whose "local community values" can be used to define which material is legally obscene and which is not? What might that community be?
The Communications Decency Act says nothing about which community's standards of obscenity are to be applied to the Internet. Because it limited itself to issues of indecency in Reno v. ACLU, the Supreme Court has so far been silent on this issue as well.
Nitke v. Ashcroft seeks to change all that. The complaint claims that, in the absence of a clear definition of which community standards apply to the Internet, CDA has the effect of chilling all Internet expression since questions of the legal obscenity of Internet material might well be judged by the values of the most restrictive communities in the country. This, says John Wirenius, attorney for Nitke and NCSF, makes the obscenity provision of CDA so far-reaching as to be unconstitutional. His hope is that Nitke v. Ashcroft will prompt the Supreme Court to overturn the CAD's obscenity provision, perhaps overturn the CDA entirely, and hopefully define for the first time which community standards are to be used in judging the potential obscenity of online sexual material.
Barbara Nitke is a brilliant, well-known, and widely respected New York fine art photographer. Much of her work comprises powerful, emotionally complex, visually evocative images that depict couples engaged in a wide variety of sexual activities. Many of her images show couples engaged in various forms of consensual sadomasochism. Her photographs are noteworthy both for their exceptional visual beauty and for the depth of the emotional connections she captures in her subjects.
Her website ( http://www.barbaranitke.com/) is the antithesis of the generically garish porn website. It is visually subdued, attractively designed, geared less to selling products (though Nitke's prints are offered for sale) than to providing a showcase for her work.
One image shows a woman looking down tenderly into the eyes of her lover, who lies bound and gagged in her arms. Another shows a woman smilingly listening to instructions from the director on a porn film set, while a man's mouth is hard at work between her thighs. Another shows a woman staring wistfully off into the distance while her woman lover lies helplessly bound and gagged in front of her on the kitchen table. Yet another shows a man concentrating intently as he whips the back of his male lover, who cries out at the pain of the lash.
Other sections of her website provide Nitke with an opportunity to talk about both her work and her personal background. "For many years I shot stills on hardcore porn shoots," she recounts. "I thought it was the most exciting, stomach-turning, heart-warming subject I could ever hope to photograph. I know that sounds crazy. But for me there was a certain feeling of freedom that went with shooting porn which, most of the time, made up for all the other things. [There were moments] when I'd look through the lens into someone's shell-shocked eyes and see a forgotten part of me staring back. That was the shot I wanted for me."
Speaking of her s/m photography, Nitke notes that her goal there is "to capture the bond between [the lovers], and also the intense energy of ritual, passionate s/m. I [want] to photograph deep intimacy and trust, the two main concepts which underlie most s/m practices."
When John Wirenius approached her about being the plaintiff in this lawsuit, Nitke says she knew immediately that she wanted to be part of the effort. "I told John I wanted to sleep on it, but I knew right away that I would do it, which was what I told him the next day." Although she has supported various freedom of expression issues in the past and has been a member of NCSF since the organization was founded, Nitke has never thought of herself as a political activist, not even with regard to free speech issues.
"But you end up being an activist even if you don't want to be," she says pointedly. "If artists as a group don't stand up and do something, the censors are just going to keep going further and further. Most artists don't want to deal with this sort of thing, but we have to."
She recalls a time of showing her work to a gathering of curators and gallery owners in Portland, Oregon, all of whom told her that her photography was excellent, but also said there was no way they could show it, given the current political climate regarding sexual imagery. It was experiences like these, Nitke says, that made her conscious of how impossible it was becoming to show important, sexually controversial work throughout the country.
It wasn't until Nitke decided to put together her own website that she fully realized how heavily the prevailing political climate was weighing on her. Nervous about recent legislation like the Community Decency Act, she called other photographers who were doing erotic and sexual work like hers -- images that were controversial, sometimes sexually explicit, but distinctly artful in intent and style, and distinctly outside the realm of commercial pornography. She also spoke with publishers of erotic magazines equally distant from the production and distribution networks of the porn world. Were these people worried about Ashcroft and how he would apply the laws that Congress was passing related to supposedly obscene material? Did she need to be concerned about being a target for prosecution herself? What kinds of images could she put on her website without risking embroiling herself in legal defenses that could eat up tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention months of time and heartache? And wasn't it horrible that, as a serious artist interested in sexual issues, she had to be distracted by these sorts of issues at all?
"That's why this suit is so important to me," she summarizes. "It's both a practical matter and a matter or principle."
Unlike Barbara Nitke, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom ( https://ncsfreedom.org/) came to Nitke v. Ashcroft directly from an interest in political advocacy of the sexual civil rights of people who find themselves outside the American sexual mainstream. Founded in 1997 "to help change antiquated and unfair sex laws, and to protect free speech and advance privacy rights," NCSF has drawn its primary support from a broad group of S/M activists, initially in New York, but later from other parts of the country as well. It's 21 voting member groups now span the country from New York to Las Vegas, from Greensboro, North Carolina to Blue Island, Illinois. The groups range from long-standing s/m advocacy and support groups, like the Eulenspeigel Society of New York, to newer groups like St. Louis's Leather and Lace, and Cincinnati's Masters and slaves Together. Member groups like the Lesbian Sex Mafia and Gay Male S/M Activists reflect the broad diversity of sexual orientation that is very much a part of the national s/m-leather-fetish subculture.
NCSF has been increasingly effective in speaking up for the basic civil rights and freedom of speech of people involved in safe, sane, consensual s/m. It has successfully fought selective enforcement of zoning and public indecency laws in San Diego, Baltimore, Attleboro (Massachusetts), and Washington, DC Its Law Enforcement Outreach Program strives both to educate law enforcement officials about s/m communities, and to educate members of the s/m community about how to minimize their risk as potential targets of selective enforcement of zoning, public indecency, and aggravated assault laws.
NCSF spokesperson Susan Wright notes that the organization has very much wanted to take the initiative in challenging antisexual legislation like the Communications Decency Act, rather than waiting to respond to what it saw as inevitable upcoming attacks on sexual expression from the Bush-Ashcroft Administration.
NCSF is sure that new attacks on sexually-oriented materials and entertainment, particularly material available on the Internet, has been high on the priority list of the Ashcroft Justice Department, even if that agenda has been somewhat delayed by the focus on terrorism that followed the events of September 11. They note that on November 14, Ashcroft appointed Andrew G. Osterbaan to head the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. Earlier this year, Ashcroft assured various conservative organizations that he intended to vigorously pursue prosecutions under the CDA. On June 9 he also told the House Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department intended to be "especially accommodating to local law enforcement" with regard to helping them put operators of Internet sex sites behind bars.
"Our goal [with the Nitke suit]," says Wright, "is to overturn this unconstitutional provision [of the CDA] before this Administration tries to score political points by attempting to enforce it." Attorney John Wirenius adds that there is much to be gained from seizing the initiative in legal matters, rather than waiting to mount defenses to prosecutions initiated by the Justice Department. "This way we get to choose the test case, not Ashcroft," he emphasizes. "I'd much rather have the obscenity provision of the CDA be decided on the basis of Barbara Nitke's work than on the basis of something like http://www.bestiality.com/"
Wirenius is optimistic about Nitke v. Ashcroft at the Federal District Court level. He notes that Judge Richard Berman, who will preside over the case in Federal District Court this spring, wrote what Wirenius calls a "terrific decision," Swedenburg v. Kelly, in which he ruled that material on the Internet cannot be subjected to geographical community standards in the same way that books or films can. "Judge Berman," says Wirenius, "is a fair-minded judge who understands the posed by the Internet."
Wirenius is also optimistic of the fate of Nitke v. Ashcroft before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the case will ultimately be decided. He sees this case as a logical extension of Reno v. ACLU from issues of indecency to those of obscenity and notes that, despite its general conservative bent, the current Supreme Court has been fairly vigilant on free speech issues.
Whether or not Nitke v. Ashcroft is ultimately successful in overturning the obscenity provision of CDA, the fact that the issue is being raised by NCSF represents a significant new political and legal posture for the s/m community which, until recently, has been more closeted and less inclined to take aggressive political and legal action than more long-standing and well-known sexual minority groups. As NCSF notes, "in the past decade, alternative sexual expression [particularly s/m] has become much more visible to the general public," and people who engage in s/m have therefore become subject to "an increasing number of attacks against our right to freedom of sexual expression." Actions like Nitke v. Ashcroft demonstrate that s/m practitioners have begun to join the ranks of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people in insisting that non-traditional sexual and gender expression not subject them to anything less than full and equal treatment under the law.
The NCSF Incident Reporting & Response (IRR) program provides assistance to individuals and groups within the alternative sexual expression communities who become victimized because of SM, leather, fetish, or swing practices.