County's strip club restrictions upheld by judge as unconstitutional
Appeals judge agrees with injunction on law that would limit dress, behavior
Male exotic dancer Ed Cloyd, who goes by the stage name "Total Package" at clubs in Prince George's and Washington, D.C., will not have to wear Band-Aids over his nipples when he dances close to customers.
The injunction of the Maryland Strip Club Law, which would have limited the way entertainers could dance, dress and behave in Prince George's County venues that sell alcohol, was upheld Feb. 17 by U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn.
The law was set to go into effect in 2005 until the Legend Night Club in Temple Hills and the Classics Night Club in Camp Springs won a preliminary injunction that year.
In a 2009 memorandum, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it violated free speech. The law would have forbade nude servers and hostesses as well as sexual touching in venues that sell alcohol, said Bowie-based attorney Jimmy A. Bell, who represented the clubs that contested the law.
In Wynn's decision, he wrote, "We conclude that the statute which limits the range of permissible conduct, attire, and entertainment at establishments licensed to serve alcoholic beverages prohibits a broad swath of expression protected by the First Amendment and is not susceptible to a limiting construction."
The state's attorney general's office, which defended the law, did not return request for comment by press time.
The appeals decision marks the end of the line for the case, Bell said.
Cloyd, 33, who gets booked by Fort Washington-based Entertainment with Class, said the law would have essentially eliminated the live adult entertainment business.
"That's like being at work and someone telling them you have to do this and do that," he said. "Who's going to put Band-Aids on their nipples? Who wants to keep a tank top on while they are dancing?"
Bell said the law would have ruined an industry that supports families.
"When you think about dancers, people don't think about their spouses, their children, their loved ones. They don't think about the waitress, busboy, the cleanup personnel," he said. "All of those people support their families based on this business, so when you stop this business, you put a lot of families in jeopardy."