Anti-brothel petition drive under way | NevadaAppeal.com
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Anti-brothel petition drive under way

STEVE F. LYON

Fallon – A petition drive launched to repeal the county’s 30-year-old brothel ordinance collected 100 signatures on its first day, organizers said.

The Coalition to End Prostitution in Churchill County, headed by homemaker Elizabeth Earl, took its anti-brothel campaign public Saturday in front of Fallon’s Wal-Mart.

Earl said the feedback she received was supportive, except for one woman who asked what Earl had against prostitutes.

If that pace holds up, the coalition likely will have no problem collecting the 753 valid signatures by June 25 needed to put the measure on the November ballot. That figure represents 10 percent of people who voted in the 2002 election.

“I don’t doubt that it will get on the ballot,” Earl said.

A devoutly religious mother, Earl, 30, said she views legalized prostitution as a blight on the community.

She said many residents informally have told her they support the effort to end legalized prostitution. On Sunday, she planned to gather more signatures at church.

Earl said the timing is right to organize an effort to repeal the county’s prostitution ordinance. Salt Wells Villa and Lazy B brothels, both east of Fallon on Highway 50, are temporarily closed.

Even so, Earl said the two licenses allowed in the county ordinance would still be available for someone else to open another brothel. The prostitution law can be repealed by a simple majority of votes.

“I think there’s a chance to win here,” she said. “I’ve talked to many, many people who agree with me.”

An issue exclusive to rural Nevada, legalized prostitution is handled on a county-by-county basis. Prostitution is illegal in the state’s two most-populated counties, Washoe and Clark.

It’s not proven that illegal prostitution will flourish if the brothel ordinance is repealed, Earl said, dismissing an often-used argument by brothel supporters.

Earl doesn’t know what response Nevada’s brothel industry may have to her effort. If the measure gets on the ballot, the Coalition to End Prostitution will start a campaign to sway county voters to end legalized prostitution. The coalition will have to file contribution and expense reports.

“What I hope they (the brothel industry) would see is that they’re likely to lose that fight here,” she said.

The county’s brothel ordinance, which was approved by 57 percent of voters in 1974, allows two brothels. County zoning dictates where they can be located.