Sex is a protected form of speech - sort of.
Adult video and book stores, shops selling sex toys, and even strip clubs enjoy protections under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
When Amherst town officials tried to relegate sex-themed stores to an industrial part of town years ago, they were told their zoning laws were unconstitutional. Now, Town Board members are left to struggle with a new law that would permit such establishments to locate in areas zoned for general business.
The new zoning codes now under consideration are likely to a political hot potato for board members sensitive to the public pressure to keep such businesses from setting up shop.
--- Sandra Tan