Appeals panel upholds ban on brothel ads
A federal appeals court Thursday upheld a Nevada law that bars legal brothels in some rural areas of Nevada from advertising in Las Vegas, Reno and other places where prostitution is illegal.
In a 2-1 decision, a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco refused to reconsider a decision handed down earlier this year.
The laws had been challenged by the ACLU, a Nye County brothel called the Shady Lady Ranch and two newspapers: the High Desert Advocate and Las Vegas City Life.
Prostitution is illegal in Clark and Washoe counties – which include Las Vegas and Reno – and three other Nevada counties. Ten Nevada counties authorize prostitution by local ordinance.
Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto hailed the latest ruling.
“This state has had restrictions on brothel advertising for 40 years,” she said in a written statement. “Nevada should have the right to have reasonable limitations on this type of activity.”
The 9th Circuit panel in March reversed a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan in Nevada that two 1979 state laws prohibiting brothel advertising in counties where prostitution is illegal were overly broad and unconstitutional.
The laws also prohibit brothel advertising in theaters and on streets and public highways.
The 9th Circuit noted in its ruling that Nevada was unique among states because it has a “nuanced boundary,” rather than total criminalization of prostitution.
But the state still seeks to confine the sale of sex acts through licensing and advertising restrictions, the judges said, concluding that Nevada laws “appropriately limited commercial speech.”