Sexxxy Ruling in Oregon, No to Lap Dancing in Seattle

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, the state of Oregon is extremely liberal in its state government and judicial system. Right now the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments over Oregon's assisted suicide law. That state has lenient drug laws, including wide access to medical marijuana, and now the Oregon Supreme Court says live sex acts are constitutionally protected, a position the ACLU and The Oregonian newspaper are behind.

Meantime, up in Seattle, another liberal town, the city council and mayor there have banned lap dancing. Whoa, what's going on?

Joining us now from Seattle is attorney Ann Bremner, and from Portland, Dave Reinhard, a columnist and associate editor at The Oregonian.

Mr. Reinhard, I'll begin with you, because you know, you wrote a column yesterday in The Oregonian that said this is nuts. I think Oregon now is the only state in the union where you can open a little saloon, Dave's Place...


O'REILLY: ... and hire people to have sex on stage, right?

REINHARD: Well, yes, that's exactly right. And it is now protected under our Section 1, Article 8, free expression of opinion clause in the Oregon constitution, which would have been a surprise to many of the Victorian drafters.

O'REILLY: Well, I know the constitution in Oregon was passed in 1859. Free expression of opinion. And the opinion would be, "I want to have sex in front of a big crowd"? Is that the opinion? What's the opinion?

REINHARD: They — well, the opinion says that there's some expression of opinion involved. But it's hard to determine what exactly the opinion is that's being expressed when two people get together, as they did in this small community of Roseberg, which I'm sure you're familiar with.

O'REILLY: Sure, down south.

REINHARD: Sure. And they got together and fondled one another, had oral sex in front of two undercover police officers. In another instance, one woman simply masturbated in public with some sexual toys. There you have it.

O'REILLY: And I mean, now this is constitutionally protected in the state of Oregon.

Now a lot of people are going to say Oregon has fallen off the face of the earth, to the left. And The Oregonian newspaper actually filed a friend of the court brief in support of this. Is that right?

REINHARD: They did. And we endorsed it, the decision editorially. We took — we offered a friend of the court position as a corporation. And I don't represent the corporation. I...

O'REILLY: Was there an explanation? Was there an explanation? I mean we know The Oregonian is very left wing editorially. I think you're the only conservative columnist on the paper. But do we know why they took the position?

REINHARD: I believe it has to do with a very broad interest in free expression and a fear that if this wasn't allowed to hold in this instance some day, some way, it would be a problem.

O'REILLY: All right. So right now in Oregon anybody can open a saloon, and hire people to come in and have sex in front of their patrons. Anybody can do that?

REINHARD: That seems to be the case. And it may be even broader than that. We'll find out in the coming years if this thing, if this thing holds. But, yes, live sex acts, featuring masturbation, copulation, are constitutionally protected.

O'REILLY: It's an amazing situation. Now, Ann, in Seattle, which is a very liberal city...


O'REILLY: ... this is 180 degrees the opposite.


O'REILLY: The mayor signed a ban of lap dancing. Why did that happen?

BREMNER: Well, you know, Seattle, I was trying to think of what they're trying to express. I mean, it's just like Mae West, it's more important to be looked over than overlooked.

In Seattle, think about this definition of liberal, Bill. And that is a liberal is someone that knows what's good for you better than you know yourself. There's some paternalism in this.

But also in Seattle we've had a Strippergate with the city council, a scandal relating to the club some years ago.

And finally, this is the Emerald City. It's a beautiful place. It's nice to be important here, but more important to be nice. And I think not in our backyard. So it makes sense here.

And if we're going to have secession from the union of the northern states, Washington, Oregon and Northern California, as in "Ecotopia " remember that book — I don't think that Washington is going out there with Oregon on this limb.

O'REILLY: But I don't know why. See, I don't know why the city council would even care about lap dancing, certainly not near what they're talking about in Oregon. And why would they want to do this, in a liberal town where freedom of expression is everything? Is there an economic reason?

BREMNER: No. Think about, not only about our city and the image of our city, but prior scandal, as I said, Bill.

But then this. We have three of the most prolific serial killers in the northwest, Yates and then Ridgeway has killed 48 alleged prostitutes, and the pig farmer case. And that's part of it, too, which is paternalism, protecting these women from themselves, a la a liberal, which is, "I can protect you better than you can protect yourself."

O'REILLY: I see. So the city council and the mayor want to protect the ladies who might engage in this activity for money?

BREMNER: Well, there's demonstrably, according to some of these hearings and what's been deduced there before the council between illegal activity and these clubs. And what they're saying is we want Fred Meyer (ph) lighting in these clubs.

O'REILLY: You bet.

BREMNER: Garish lighting, and we want you to stay at least four feet away and no lap dances. That's been the law.

O'REILLY: Well, they're definitely trying to inhibit the business of these places. That's what they're trying to do. But it's interesting that you feel it's because they want to — looking out for the ladies involved.

BREMNER: That's part of it.

O'REILLY: Now, David, I have one more question for you before I let you Guys go. Do you think the good folks in Oregon have any idea how their state is now being perceived in the rest of the union, what with the assisted suicide, the easy drug laws, the Portland Police Bureau not cooperating with the FBI on terrorism investigations?

I mean, Oregon is now outflanking California as the most left wing state in the union. Even Massachusetts doesn't have this stuff.

REINHARD: We certainly seem to be. I call it — I like to call it ground zero in the culture of death. But we've added something new this past week.

I do — I would point out that while the people seem to be upset about Oregon's growing image, they're also upset about this ruling, I believe. And it doesn't break down left versus right. I think a lot of people on the left are equally upset about this in some ways, because it involves the victimization of women. But there's just a growing revulsion.

O'REILLY: Be that as it may, women have a right, I believe, to do whatever they want as long as they don't break the law. And now the law says they can do this.

But there have been boundaries in our society. We've got 300 million Americans, and to break down every boundary of personal behavior.

What if you had a house, Mr. Reinhard, and then some Guy walks in, which he can do in Portland, open as saloon 40 feet from your house and they have this. You're shocked. And I mean, you know, this is what — this is the unintended consequences of chaos. And that's what you've got here.

Folks, Ann, Mr. Reinhard, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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