The gay bathhouses and sex clubs of Los Angeles have filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles in response to the latest regulations passed by the county and adopted by the city which allow a non-elected bureaucrat the power to regulate those establishments according to his whim.

Only gay venues are singled out for this treatment without guidelines, The organisations fear that in the hands of a homophobic or power hungry appointee, the plaintiffs fear a witch hunt.

According to the county, a commercial sex venue is defined as “any establishment that charges patrons or members a fee for admission or membership and which as one of its primary purposes allows, facilitates and/or provides facilities for its patrons or members to engage in any high-risk sexual contact while on the premises.”

The gay bathhouses and sex clubs of Los Angeles say they do not encourage high risk behaviour, they claim to prohibit it by taking action against any members willingly engaging in high risk behaviour and by encouraging safe sex for all members. All of these establishments provide safe sex information upon entry and throughout the club.

The clubs involved in this litigation include Midtowne Spa, Melrose Spa, the 1350 Club, Hollywood Spa, North Hollywood Spa, Flex Complex, the Zone, Slammer Club and KLYT Club. All are well known gay establishments that have been members of the community in good standing for many years. All have assisted with the fundraising for various HIV/AIDS related community charities for many years, donating significant funds to not only assist those with AIDS but also help reduce the spread of AIDS. These establishments have frequently been the first line of defence in the spreading of this necessary information.

Currently the bathhouses and sex clubs provide testing, condoms, counselling, signage and HIV related information to all patrons. These venues offer the community a chance to obtain pertinent information regarding the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

The clubs are taking issue with the denial of their constitutional rights to Due Process as to new regulations which may be imposed at any time by a single bureaucrat without any standards when violation of such would be an actual crime.

“Bathhouses are an easy target,” said Scott Campbell, president of Midtowne Spa, which runs three bathhouses in Los Angeles. He said facilities like his were being unfairly singled out.

Mr Campbell believes that individuals are increasingly finding sexual partners through the bars and the internet without the protections and education the plaintiffs offer. His bathhouses already spend $200,000 per year on safe-sex materials.

“Our customers tend to be people who are closeted, and this is probably the only way for them to obtain their HIV/AIDS information. We must stand up and protest these regulations on our and their behalf.”

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