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May 09, 2000 08:01am
Dressed as Supreme Court Justices, Nine Adult Entertainment Stars Protest Decision on Nude Dance
Source: Free Speech Coalition
by: Company Press Release

(SACRAMENTO, CA) -- The fourth annual "Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days" brought first amendment activists together with Adult Entertainers in the California State Capitol.

Nine female performers, for whom nude dancing is a profession, held a press conference on the steps of California's State Capitol today to protest the Supreme Court decision forcing them to ``cover up'' in the course of their work. The demonstration was sponsored by the Free Speech Coalition.

Dressed in black robes like those worn by U.S. Supreme Court Justices, the performers and other members of the adult entertainment industry, registered their disagreement with the Court's decision that cities and states may ban nude dancing because of what the Court called ``negative secondary effects.''

The protest was conducted as part of a press conference for ``Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days,'' an annual symposium in which members of the Free Speech Coalition, the trade association of the adult entertainment industry, congregate in Sacramento to learn how to lobby. Participants meet with California legislators to highlight the social contributions and political agenda of the industry, an economic powerhouse that employs thousands and has annual gross revenues exceeding $12 billion.

The robed dancers, including well known adult video stars Nina Hartley, Julie Ashton, Devinn Lane and Christi Lake, stood on the steps of the State Capitol holding a sign saying, ``Nude Dancing is Not A Crime.''

The protest referred to the recent six-to-three opinion in Pap's A.M. v City of Erie, in which the US Supreme Court upheld an Erie, Pennsylvania, ordinance which requires dancers to wear at least pasties and a G-string. The Court said that their ruling was a way of combating ``negative secondary effects,'' allegedly associated with establishments offering adult entertainment.

The three-day event included a ``Community Forum'' where a panel of free speech activists discussed ``The First Amendment: Who Needs It? And Why?'' Panelists included representatives from the California First Amendment Coalition, the First Amendment Project and the Center for Investigative Journalism as well as educators and legislative staff.

Other performers appearing in ``supreme court justice'' robes included Annie Sprinkle, Madison, LaSarra Firefox and Liza Van Dorn.

CONTACT: Andrea Hecht for Free Speech Coalition, 818-894-3775, or 818-219-9595.

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