Thursday, December 22, 2005

Supreme Court of Canada Okays Group Sex

| by Polly Jones | 12:04 AM |



I'm so exhausted these days trying to finish up school that my usual opinionated self has given out. I don't think I could even manage to get behind a really big feminist issue tonight. Hopefully, in the New Year, I can post more on topics I really care about...but, for now, it will have to be swingers and group sex.

I was actually quite surprised by this news story, not because of the ruling, but that the issue made it to the courts in the first place. The Globe and Mail reports:


Two Montreal "swingers" clubs did not breach Canadian standards of decency when
they allowed group sex to take place on their premises, the Supreme Court of
Canada ruled this morning.

In its latest attempt to set guidelines that govern sexual morality in Canada, the top court said two swingers clubs in Montreal were not operating as illegal "bawdy houses," because what went on there did not cause any harm to society.

The decision could make it easier for other venues where group sex takes place among consenting adults - such as gay bath houses - to operate without the threat of police intervention.

The ruling dealt with two Quebec Court of Appeal decisions that came
down on opposite sides of the issue. In one case, the Coeur à Corps club was
acquitted by the appeals court, while in the other the L'Orage club lost an
appeal of a conviction on similar charges.

The L'Orage clubs owner appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, while the Crown appeal the acquittal of Coeur à Corps.

The case law has generally defined an indecent act as something that is beyond standards of community tolerance, or is capable of causing harm by encouraging people to engage in anti-social conduct.

There is no evidence that "the sexual conduct at issue harmed
individuals or society," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the majority
decision, representing seven of the nine judges on the court.

At the clubs, "only those already disposed to this sort of sexual activity were allowed to participate and watch," she wrote.

Everyone going into the bars knew what to expect, she added, and at both clubs there was no evidence of anti-social acts or attitudes. "No one was pressured to have sex, paid for sex, or [was] treated as a mere sexual object for the gratification of others."

And just because the clubs were businesses, that didn't mean the
activities that took place there commercial - in other words prostitution - the
ruling said.

The only real danger to participants was that they might
catch a sexually-transmitted disease, the decision said, but this wasn't a
factor in their decision because it is "conceptually and causally unrelated to
indecency."

The issue is also the subject of the online poll for tonight's local news. So, what do you think? Should swinger clubs be legal?


via Marginal Notes



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