A federal judge has upheld Ohio's ''no-touch'' law for strip clubs in Akron and around the state.
A group of adult entertainment owners and the Buckeye Association of Club Executives, a not-for-profit trade group that represents cabarets and adult bookstores, had sued in U.S. District Court seeking to have the state's no-touch law declared unconstitutional.
Akron was among several cities and counties named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in October 2007. The suit came in reaction to new state laws covering exotic dance clubs and adult bookstores.
Judge Solomon Oliver Jr., in a 45-page decision released Monday, granted motions by local government attorneys to have the suit dismissed.
A message left with Berkman, Gordon, Murray & DeVan, a Cleveland law firm representing the adult entertainment groups, was not returned.
Oliver found that the state law that bans exotic dancers and customers from touching each other does not violate First Amendment or other constitutional rights of the business owners.
The judge also upheld the state law that limits the hours of operation for adult clubs that serve liquor.
Oliver disagreed with claims from club owners that the ''no touch'' law violated freedom of speech guarantees.
He also disagreed with arguments that the ban is overly broad and could be applied to ballet dancers or other mainstream theatrical performers.
''Indeed, there is no evidence before the court that musicals such as Hair are characterized by an emphasis on specified sexual activities or anatomical areas,'' the judge wrote in his decision.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.