Prince William's Pornography

Article excerpt


Today, there is a showdown over pornography in Prince William County. Over recent years, community activists have battled to limit zoning opportunities for stores that sell or rent pornography and other erotic merchandise. Over the summer, the county's board of supervisors approved new rules making it harder for such businesses to operate. A federal judge suspended the new regulations last month, so the supervisors are back at the drawing board. Today, they meet to decide whether or not their anti-pornography regulations should be weakened. A fundamental responsibility of county supervisors is to protect community standards, and they should not yield.

There is nothing wrong or unconstitutional about the current Prince William County ordinances regarding so-called adult businesses. The county requires a $400 operating permit that must be renewed every year, mandates that hours of operation end no later than midnight, sets guidelines for storefront appearances and advertisements and forbids pornography shops from being within 500 feet of churches and schools. There are also limits on how many pornography licenses the county will allow and a clause that permits the county to immediately suspend or revoke pornography purveyors' licenses if they are convicted of various crimes.

Opposition to Prince William County's decency laws is predictable. Owners of these shops don't want their businesses to be restricted at all. …