From the Harris County Sexually Oriented Enterprise Regulations

“Semi-nude” means “any state of dress which opaquely covers no more than a human buttock, anus, male genitalia, female genitalia or areola of a female breast.”

Can anyone tell me what that means? I think it’s English, but I’m not certain.

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0 responses to “From the Harris County Sexually Oriented Enterprise Regulations”

  1. An alternate definition of this, from what I have observed in the lobby and elevators, is: “The preferred attire for women visiting the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.”

  2. It’s the “or” that bothers me. That makes it sound like topless or bottomless—but not both—would qualify as semi-nude, and I don’t think that’s the intent.

  3. Just two questions . . .

    All of the references appear to explicitly or implicitly refer to humans (giving an appropriate nod to gender references), except for the anus.

    Does this leave room for nonhuman anuses to go bare?

    Is “anus” included simply as a metaphor to indicate that fully-clothed people with bad attitudes will now be considered semi-nude?

    If it’s not used as a metaphor and people are forced to cover their anuses, could the resultant muffling of some voices be considered an unlawful restriction of free speech?

    And, by the way, as the definition appears to refer to only a single buttock or breast, what happened to equal protection? (Note: I purposely am not raising this issue with regard to genitalia.)

  4. Ambiguity allows law enforcement and the city to prosecute based on their attitudes, and not on letter of the law. Obviously community standards are enforced in matters like these, but wording a law so objectively means that one person will get charged for wearing a shear shirt while another won’t. It’s poor law writing.

  5. Well, I get the chance to see what a District Judge (civil) says it means later this week, as we prepare to oppose the County’s Application for Temporary Injunction in the DB Coopers case. Harris County is trying to shut it down, since it doesn’t have a license, and my defense (or, one of them) is in this definition. If a “topless bar” becomes a “bikini bar,” with pasties, I know HCSO won’t like it, but….
    And, by the way, Mark, great blog!
    Brad Frye
    p.s. Yes, I know this is an old thread, but, Bing brought me here!

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