The law is interpreted – sometimes to our favor, and sometimes not.
For example, while the NCSF firmly believes that consensual SM activity between adults is legal, there are those that have a differing opinion and will intentionally interpret the law in an unfavorable way. Therefore, it is extremely important for the SM- Leather-Fetish communities to have an understanding of the laws that may affect us.
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has been fighting for your rights for the past 14 years, and we are changing the way society views kinky people.
NCSF has taken the lead in two vital projects:
Susan Wright of NCSF has helped Paddles, the BDSM nightclub here in NYC, tremendously in the various issues we have encountered over the last few years involving all applicable laws/policies and interfacing with the local community. With NCSF's resources and her own years of expertise, she has worked diligently with us to research the health code regulations in NYC and how they affect an alternative sexuality nightclub such as ours. She has also done extensive work with us towards the goal of the city removing and/or amending its "anti-sex club" policies which has created an environment which makes it challenging for Paddles, a legal BDSM nightclub establishment, to operate in. She has also helped us understand and stay in compliance with all other regulations that would affect a club such as ours. Susan is a great asset to have "on our side" who is always available to lend us assistance. Thanks for all the help, Susan!
WASHINGTON, DC - The Supreme Court today denied an appeal by photographer Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) in the case of Nitke v. Gonzalez. The appeal challenged the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act on the grounds that the obscenity provision of the CDA is overbroad.
Last year, a three-judge panel in New York's Southern District had dismissed Nitke's lawsuit, ruling that there was "insufficient evidence" to show that the CDA was overbroad. In affirming that ruling today, the Supreme Court did not hear oral arguments in the case, instead issuing a four-word decision which reads simply: "The Judgment is Affirmed."
According to comments posted by attorney Alan R. Levy to his Live Journal blog, since the case had been decided by a three-judge panel, Nitke and the NCSF had an "appeal of right to the U.S. Supreme court," which meant that the court could not "deny certiorari and had to take the case." Levy is a senior associate with the law firm of Lester, Schwab, Katz and Dwyer in New York, and a member of the NCSF.
"Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision consisted of four words: 'The Judgment is Affirmed'," Levy wrote. "Hence, it appears that the 'Nitke' case is at an end."
The NCSF was clearly disappointed with the Court's decision and even more disheartened by the lack of any hearing or opportunity to present further arguments.
"The Supreme Court has affirmed the lower court's decision without hearing oral arguments, sending a clear signal that the court will not protect free speech rights when it comes to sexually explicit materials," the NCSF stated in a press release issued today.
While the NCSF stated their belief that the lawsuit "was successful in weakening the Miller standard of judging obscenity," a reference to the landmark decision in the 1973 case Miller v. California which established the "obscenity test" which courts have used ever since.
The NCSF, along with the Free Speech Coalition and many legal experts, has argued that the Miller test is no longer relevant, particularly where internet communications are concerned. Rather than take this opportunity to review and possibly update existing obscenity law, the NCSF worries that the court, by ducking the issue in this case, may have opened the floodgates to more obscenity prosecutions directed at sexually explicit websites.
"We have proven that Miller does not work," said Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF in a press release today. "But the Supreme Court has declined to strike it down at this time. That means every website on the Internet can be judged by the most repressive local community standards in the U.S."
For her part, Nitke focused on gains made through the lawsuit, rather than on the negative outcome, and called on like-minded people to continue the "fight."
"I think we've achieved a great victory in drawing attention to how politicized our judicial system has become," Nitke said in the statement released by the NCSF. "Our obscenity laws are outmoded, especially in conjunction with the Internet. We've made a huge dent in how obscenity will be judged in the future, and I hope others will now stand up and continue to fight against repressive laws like this."
According to multiple reports from the Associated Press and other sources, the Bush Administration had actively urged Supreme Court Justices to steer clear of the case.
In addition to contributing to YNOT, Q is the Director of Traffic Development for NicheBucks.com and an eight-year veteran of the online adult industry.
NCSF's Communications Decency Act lawsuit with Barbara Nitke made history by challenging the Miller standard of obscenity as it applies to the Internet.
Media reports covering the Communications Decency Act lawsuit launched by co-plaintiffs NCSF and Barbara Nitke: