Legal and ethical issues about dildos

Classic dildoThe possession and sale of dildos is illegal in some jurisdictions, including India. Until recently, many southern states and some Great Plains states in the United States banned the sale of dildos completely, either directly or through laws regulating “obscene devices”. In 2007, a federal appeals court upheld Alabama’s law prohibiting the sale of sex toys. The law, the Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1998, was also upheld by the Supreme Court of Alabama on September 11, 2009.

In February 2008, a federal appeals court overturned a Texas statute banning the sales of dildos and other sexual toys, deeming such a statute as violating the Constitution’s 14th Amendment on the right to privacy. The appeals court cited Lawrence v. Texas, where the Supreme Court of the United States in 2003 struck down bans on consensual sex between gay couples, as unconstitutionally aiming at “enforcing a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct.” Similar statutes have been struck down in Kansas and Colorado. Alabama is the only state where a law prohibiting the sale of sex toys remains on the books.

Some Conservative Christians believe that the use of sex toys is immoral. The Southern Baptist preacher Dan Ireland has been an outspoken critic of such devices and has fought to ban them on religious and ethical grounds. Ireland has stated “There are moral ways and immoral ways to use a firearm … There is no moral way to use one of these devices.” According to Ireland, “Sometimes you have to protect the public against themselves….These devices should be outlawed because they are conducive to promiscuity, because they promote loose morals and because they entice improper and potentially deadly behaviors.”

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