Adult bookstores can advertise their products on billboards on freeways and interstates

A law that required the removal of a sex-store billboard ad struck down as unconstitutional

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Have you ever been driving on a freeway or interstate and noticed a billboard advertising an adult bookstore or the equivariant? Some folks are apparently disturbed over such advertising.

The Lion’s Den runs an adult superstore in Upton, Kentucky. Located just off Exit 251 on Interstate 65, the store sells books, magazines, and other items—mostly sexual in nature.

Much of their business comes from travelers. The store posted a sign that read, “Lion’s Den Adult Superstore Exit Now,” on a property that was off-cite from the store.

The state ordered the owners to take the sign down per the Kentucky Billboard Act, which imposes special requirements on roadside billboards that advertise off-site activities. Those offered off the property on which the billboard is located. These requirements apply to commercial and non-commercial speech and do not apply to on-site billboards.

The unanimous Sixth Circuit panel established that the Kentucky Billboard Act is a content-based restriction since the Act makes numerous distinctions according to whether the advertisement involves on-site or off-site activity. Therefore, the panel held that Kentucky’s Billboard Act needed to survive strict scrutiny, the highest standard to meet in determining whether the government is violating citizens’ constitutional rights.

It did not survive strict scrutiny, the Sixth Circuit held. The sign neither posed any safety risks nor did the aesthetic considerations matter since the same sign could have been put up on-site: Sources: Court records and findlaw.com.

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