California Judge Grants Strip Clubs Constitutional Right to Reopen, Churches Remain Shuttered

A judge in California has granted two strip clubs the right to reopen their businesses after the two filed suit and alleged that the county of San Diego violated its constitutional rights by ordering them to close.

The two clubs involved in the lawsuit are Pacers Showgirls International and Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club.

The lawsuit that the clubs filed in October allege that the county’s COVID orders “violate the businesses’ constitutional rights of due process and equal protection under the law, arguing that other establishments, from restaurants to comedy clubs, have been allowed to host ‘considerable live entertainment.’”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, “San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil ordered the state to end any actions that prevent the clubs from ‘being allowed to provide live adult entertainment,’ according to the decision.”

The Free Beacon notes that the two clubs argued that their business “is legally protected speech guaranteed by the First Amendment—the same argument that churches have been making about their own services.”

San Diego, which recently moved into the purple tier of COVID-19 restrictions, prohibits churches along with movie theaters, restaurants and gyms from operating indoors as of November 14.

However, according to the order, retail stores, banks, grocery stores, convenience stores and hardware stores can remain open. And now with this ruling, so can strip clubs.

But not places of worship.

The Thomas More Society, which defends religious liberty and has represented churches in California, took a surprisingly upbeat tone about Judge Wohlfeil’s ruling.

“If you’re going to accept that argument that dancing nude is protected speech that’s so significant that it overcomes the government’s interest in regulating its citizens with COVID-19 orders, then obviously the divine worship of God, which is expressly mentioned in the First Amendment, should be held to a higher standard,” Paul Jonna, special council for the Thomas More Society, said.

“A judge who understands the Constitution will recognize the absurdity of the current state of the law. I think it’s a good sign that judges are starting to question whether the government has a legitimate interest in regulating any business or industry at this point,” Jonna added in a statement to the Free Beacon.

As The Daily Citizen reported in June, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego, California to reopen for worship services with the same capacity as malls and other businesses that California permitted to open.

Following this court decision, many Americans are bound to wonder how a country settled and founded by pilgrims seeking religious freedom can so quickly relinquish the right to worship indoors.

Why can the show go on at Pacers Showgirls International, but not at South Bay United Pentecostal Church?

Based on current court rulings, one could be forgiven for thinking that the coronavirus is specifically transmitted by pastors and priests, but not by strippers.

You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary

Photo from Shutterstock

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