The City of Dallas is likely facing a lawsuit after voting to ban the Exxxotica expo from the city-owned downtown convention center.
Following the vote, Exxxotica organizer J. Handy reportedly said he was headed straight for his lawyer’s office.
Councilwoman Jennifer Gates, who represents much of Preston Hollow, was one of eight council members to vote in favor of Mayor Mike Rawlings’ proposition to ban the Exxxotica exposition, a sexually oriented trade show that has been held at the convention center in years past, bringing the city $70,000 for per event.
Gates earlier in the week reportedly was leaning toward condemnation of the event rather than a ban, but ultimately she decided to side with Rawlings.
Other council members spoke up, insisting that opinions about pornography or adult entertainment are beside the point. (Seven voted against the ban).
Any legal business that is willing to pay for convention center dates is protected by the First Amendment, notes Scott Griggs, North Oak Cliff representative (who is also an attorney).
He noted last week that the council has already been told once it cannot ban a legal business.“This is foolishness and a potentially unconstitutional action,” he said at the time. “Every couple of years we have to have a federal judge remind us about the First Amendment.”
Griggs added on his Facebook page last night that, “Although 15 voted today, a Federal Judge will be the 16th and final vote.”
Philip Kingston also has been outspoken about his support for upholding every legal businesses’ right to rent the convention center.
District 14 Councilman Philip Kingston also voted against the ban: “The convention, as tawdry as it may be, has no link to crime, and so I can not vote against it, especially in the mayor’s cockamamie scheme that would make me personally liable for the decision.The convention is closely linked to bad taste and tackiness,” he wrote on Facebook. “But that is an argument against having a convention center not an argument against a sex convention.”
Added East Dallas Councilman (also through Facebook), “We just basically, on a moral stand, gave away money that we could be using to address people who are in the most vulnerable positions.”
Along with a slew of protesters and billionaires and the woman who the convention center is named after, Dallas Police Chief David Brown was in attendance to let the council know that undercover officers attended last year’s event and saw no violations of Texas’ obscenity laws. (Click the link to read Robert Wilonsky’s coverage of the hearing.)
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