Nude Dancing: Barnes v. Glen Theatre
Jan 13, 1991
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The interviews focused on the case of Barnes v. Glen Theatre, arguing whether nude dancing is a form of conduct, or a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. Both sides agree that the question is not one of .. Read More
The interviews focused on the case of Barnes v. Glen Theatre, arguing whether nude dancing is a form of conduct, or a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. Both sides agree that the question is not one of obscenity, which is defined as an offensive depiction of sexual conduct. Wayne Uhl, Deputy Attorney General of Indiana, answered questions about the state’s case, arguing that the issue is broader than nude dancing; it includes the state’s authority to ban all types of public nudity. Mr. Uhl said it is important to protect family values, which are “based on sexual modesty, not public promiscuity.” He explained that the state defines nude dancing as conduct, not speech, meaning it lacks protection under the First Amendment. Bruce Ennis, attorney for the Glen Theatre, said, “As long as the activity is an expressive activity, and as long as it does not meet the other standards for banning obscene activity, and the State has conceded that this is not obscene, then it ought to be permitted in front of a consenting adult audience.” He also said, “It is a very dangerous precedent to allow someone else, a government, to make the decision for us about what we value or don’t value.” Rebecca Robertson, a professional dancer, said nude dancing should be allowed as a form of entertainment and expression when it is done for consenting adults, in a private place. "Society has made the dancers seem sleazy, and they’re really not," she said. "They’re normal people just like everybody else."