Bathhouse coalition files suit with Los Angeles county

Danny McCoy | March 16, 2006

LOS ANGELES — A group of gay bathhouses and sex clubs in Los Angeles have filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County claiming they are being unfairly targeted by regulations which they say allow a non-elected bureaucrat the power to regulate those establishments according to his whim.

A coalition of nine bathhouses throughout the Los Angeles area claim that only gay and not heterosexual venues are being singled out for what they say is broad and unfair treatment under new guidelines.

The new rules require bathhouses to pay a $1,000 annual fee, have permits and submit to drop-by health inspections.

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.�

Bathhouse owners claim the new regulations are too vague because their patrons are banned from engaging in high-risk sexual behavior. They also claim the new regulations violate privacy rights and that it�s unfair to target bathhouses but not rent-by-the-hour motels.

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.

According to an article in The Advocate, the bathhouses and sex clubs provide testing, condoms, counseling, signage and HIV related information to all patrons.

�Bathhouses are an easy target," states Scott Campbell, president of Midtowne Spa, which runs three bathhouses in Los Angeles. �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.� – Issued by Gay Link Content

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