Lawsuit Aims to Make Prostitution Legal in California

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Two Cincinnati-based lawyers are trying to legalize prostitution in California.

“It’s legal to have sex, so why should it be illegal to pay for it?” their argument goes, according to the Sacramento Biz Journal. Lou Sirkin and fellow attorney Brian O’Connor of Santen & Hughes reportedly filed the case last month in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of an organization that represents prostitutes known as the Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education & Research Project.

Their plaintiffs are reportedly three current or former prostitutes and a man with a disability who wants to be able to legally hire prostitutes.

The attorneys said the issue is a constitutional one and reportedly compared legal prostitution to having freedom of the press. Thus making prostitution illegal would be like making it illegal to sell newspapers, according to the Biz Journal. “Because you exchange a dollar rather than dinner, why should it be made illegal?” Sirkin posited.

The attorneys said that this is a case beyond the confines of morality, expressing that morals vary from person to person and that “legislation should not be determined by morality.”

Sirkin’s past cases have reportedly included the successful overturn of a law in Texas that made sex toys illegal and an obscenity case in Pittsburgh to allow the sale of XXX movies over the Internet.

A ruling on the legalization of porn in a California case is expected this summer, but the attorneys said they expect it to be taken to a higher court.

In sum, Sirkin had this to the say to the Biz Journal:

The timing is right on this one. We think we can win and sustain it. It’s an important issue of individual freedom in a country that prides itself on individual freedom. People might think we’re crazy, but this would protect a lot of people.

California has been known to be the home of porn and Playboy’s infamous founder Hugh Heffner. But Nevada is the only state in America where some forms of prostitution and solicitation of sex are legal. California would become the second state to legalize it if the law is passed.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz