Litigation for Emancipation
As soon as we lost Prop K, I called Margo St. James. She pointed us to Coyote v. Roberts - a case in Rhode Island in which indoor prostitution had been decriminalized. Unlike the Rhode Island case, we will not be settling out of court as we must have the highest courts’ ruling that we can get in this matter for everyone’s benefit. Too, we don’t want to risk being put at the mercy of a change of heart by state legislators in subsequent years.
Louis Sirkin came highly recommended to us by the Free Speech Coalition when he dealt a death blow to government in Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition. His belief, and it is ours too, is that asking the highest court to strike down the anti-prostitution laws is paramount to getting out from under the war being waged against sex in this country. That is the war against everybody’s reproductive options, marriage equality, the expansion of ridiculous anti-trafficking laws and the sex offender registry like in Prop 35.
Hence, we created the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project. Donations are anonymous and tax deductible.
Our case is about having our sexual privacy rights, including intimate relations that involve a commercial transaction, legally noticed and protected by the courts. Our plaintiffs’ privacy will be protected during the proceedings. We have a customer plaintiff and prospective worker plaintiffs.
Our goal is to get a summary judgment. We are expecting this case to go to trial as the defendants would be ill advised to go to trial - especially after Judge Himel's comments in Bedford vs. Canada. Our case is similar but different from Bedford vs. Canada. For example, the way our anti-violence laws are captured by the language of the Fourteenth Amendment is more obscure than the language under the Canadian Charter of Rights.
Getting that judgment will mean the beginning to the end of all the discriminatory laws against our class. Will it happen be over night? Probably not. It most likely will take more litigation to force the police and prosecutors to stop arresting and charging us. This will require a war chest!
If anyone has any specific fundraising suggestions, or contacts with organizations that may provide funding, I’d be happy to follow up. All we can do is ask.
We at ESPLER Project organize like our lives depend on it. Many of us have suffered greatly under criminalization. We’ve been arrested, been to jail, we’ve lost our ability to pay our rent, and cloth and feed ourselves and our children. Our lives have been shattered in the aftermath of being held hostage for years of court proceedings in which we are publically humiliated by the court, press, and peers, and we don’t want one more person to suffer that fate.
We believe that no longer should anyone have to suffer like this because, through this lawsuit, there is a solution. We have this battle to fight, and today is the day!
In Sexual Solidarity,