Canada Keeps Swinging

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December 23, 2005

swinging

I can now proudly declare that we really are the True North Strong and Free up here in Canada. We had garnered that kind of reputation due to gay but now we can say the same about the heterosexual practice of going to swinger clubs.

In a story from the CTV.ca News Staff (12/21/05) The Supreme Court of Canada has overturned lower court convictions accusing two swinger club owners of "keeping a common bawdy house." A bawdy house is a place used or frequented for prostitution or "for the purpose of acts of indecency." Since the swinger clubs charged only a cover charge or a general membership fee, but didn't explicitly accept money for sex, the issue was one of decency not prostitution.

Indecency is a vague, undefined legal notion normally judged based upon a supposed measure of what "ordinary" Canadians will tolerate as socially acceptable. However, the Supreme Court judges decided the test for indecency should not simply be whether an activity violates some imagined community standard or societal norm, but whether the allegedly indecent act actually causes any harm.

The convicted swinger clubs, named l'Orage and Coeur à Corps (both located in Montréal, Québec), shielded visitors from having to participate in consensual group sex, so no one was forced into indecency. The first club used a code-locked door to separate a private room with mattresses on the floor and the other had a black curtain descend every half-hour separating an area of its dance floor.

"Consensual conduct behind code-locked doors can hardly be supposed to jeopardize a society as vigorous and tolerant as Canadian society," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the majority decision.

Posted by Will Peters at December 23, 2005 1:59 AM

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