By Topher Sanders
Though the city of Montgomery lost a 10-month legal battle this week when a federal court granted an adult store permission to operate on Birmingham Highway, the ruling could be appealed.
Miami-based ATM Express, Inc. opened the X-Mart Adult Supercenter at 3500 Birmingham Highway in September 2004.
Montgomery police officers closed the business for failure to obtain a business license.
The business challenged the city, charging that the city was violating their First Amendment rights.
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division, agreed with the business.
On Friday the court wrote in its conclusion that "the potential evil of censorship" was a critical factor in its decision, "but that the ruling was driven by the need to protect the First Amendment."
X-Mart was open for business Friday night.
"I'm very happy about the decision," said Jimmy Cassandro, director of operations for X-Mart Adult Supercenter.
Bright said the store's merchandise was not welcome in the Montgomery community.
"I am horribly disappointed in this ruling. We won't welcome this business or ones like it with open arms," Bright said. "But we will comply with the law. We don't agree with this merchandise, that's why we took this matter to court.
The city will explore its options to appeal the ruling, Bright said.
Cassandro said the store takes steps to ensure children are not exposed to their products.
"That's the reason we place our store away from the community, because we don't want to bother anyone," Cassandro said. "I respect the right of people to disagree with us, as I expect them to understand our rights to operate."
X-Mart customer David Walden, 25, of Tallassee, said the city of Montgomery shouldn't be able to make decisions for people.
"I just figure people should be able to choose what they buy and shop for," Walden said. "People don't have to come in here in if you don't want to. I'm just happy to have my own choice.
To my elected officials; Stop wasting Alabama taxpayer time and money policing what people might wish to insert into their nether regions. There is no way to enforce a ban on sex toys unless you intend to raid every bedroom in this state and even then there are always cucumbers. Perhaps this whole thing is a conspiracy by the cucumber growers association to boost their profits.