A Toronto-based sex doll brothel hoping to slip into Houston had cold water poured over its plans, after the City Council on Wednesday updated a rule on sexually oriented businesses prohibiting the use of the silicone seductresses for masturbatory purposes, reports Chron.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the council expanded its definition of an “arcade device” — which is used to view adult content — to include an “anthropomorphic device,” or one with human characteristics.
The city bars sexually oriented businesses, which include “adult arcades,” from operating within 1,500 feet of churches, schools, day cares, parks and residential neighborhoods. KinkySdollS’ proposed location is located a few hundred feet from the city-owned Anderson Park.
The council also prohibited customers from using arcade devices on company premises, though it still allows companies to sell them.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said the amendments are intended to update “loopholes to make the ordinance more current,” specifically in dealing with changing technology. -Chron
“I think the change in the ordinance will certainly capture businesses of this kind and would prevent businesses from operating in the way that this one has been described," said Turner, who added that the updated ordinance isn't targeting "any one business. It is on any businesses that fall within this category."
Construction had already been halted on the KinkySdollS' retail storefront after city inspectors reportedly found permitting issues.
That said, the new ordinance may not prevent KingySdollS' from setting up shop, as the updated law would only eliminate the "try-it-before-you-buy-it" option.
Lewis assured Laster that the modified ordinance "precludes certain behaviors within the shop" that would "not generally be tolerated within any business in the city of Houston."
Travis took a more forceful tack, saying that most people are “appalled and insulted” by the business. -Chron
After concerns over sex trafficking were raised recently, Councilmember Greg Travis suggested placing cameras around the business after a religious nonprofit raised the proposition - calling on Travis to install cameras "where these people are going to buy dolls."
"Our biggest concern is that this sex brothel with robots is gonna train men to become rapists," said Micah Gamboah with the religious anti sex-trafficking group, Elijah Rising. "What's next? Is it child robots? Where's the line? Where is the boundary?"
"We're not legislating morality here. That's not what we’re doing," Travis said. "We don't care what people do in their bedrooms. If somebody wants to order these dolls and have them in their homes, it's weird, that's fine, they can do that." Travis then said that the KinkiSdollS' "type of enterprise degrades our city."
Turner's battle with the doll brothel has drawn applause from the Houston Area Pastor Council, which praised him in a press release for his "rapid response to this threat to the decency of the city."