Ohio is not in the so-called Bible belt but nevertheless it shares with those states a highly puritanical mindset. Stormy Daniels, the actor at the center of a legal battle involving her relationship with Donald Trump, was briefly arrested and then released following a performance at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio. That episode sheds light on what a reactionary and puritanical state Ohio is. She was accused of coming in contact with a customer during her act. Jeremy Pelzer writes about the history of the strange 2007 law that led to her brief arrest.
The Community Defense Act, which then-Gov. Ted Strickland allowed to become law without his signature, bans strippers and patrons from touching each other during performances. It also prevented strip clubs from staying open between midnight and 6 a.m.
Citizens for Community Values, a conservative religious group behind the 2004 Ohio constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, presented lawmakers with 220,000 signatures in favor of the measure.
Phil Burress, who was president of CCV at the time, said in an interview that the “no-touching” rule and the midnight curfew were intended to curb prostitution and human trafficking.
The legislation, Senate Bill 16, easily passed the Ohio General Assembly despite vocal opposition from, among others, a group called “Dancers for Democracy,” whose members lobbied lawmakers in tight t-shirts and unfurled a protest banner in the Ohio House chamber. Critics said the measures were unnecessary and infringed on local governments’ home-rule authority.
So far in 2018, 32 women (not including Daniels) have been charged in Franklin County under the “no-touching” rule, according to Franklin County Municipal Court documents. Most pleaded guilty to a lesser charge or had their cases dismissed.
Burress is a notorious prude. You have to think that arguing that one purpose of this law was to combat human trafficking was due to the realization that the law was pretty silly and needed more serious justification, however tenuous the connection.
One also has to wonder if Daniels was specifically targeted because she is so high profile. I cannot imagine that police haven’t got better things to do than hang about in strip clubs hoping to catch people touching each other.