N.M. Supreme Court Allows Pornotopia Film Fest to Continue

Sep 14, 2013 12:15 PM PST

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico's highest court on Thursday, 4-1, tossed out the Guild Cinema and Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center’s citation for violating Albuquerque zoning restrictions on where adult films can be shown. 

The Guild Cinema, an independent movie theater, showed sexually explicit films one weekend a year from 2007 to 2009 during Pornotopia, a film festival organized by Self Serve, a local sex toy and novelty store. 

But the city fined the Guild Cinema and Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center $500 in 2008, and Pornotopia hasn't been held since 2009 because of the legal battle. 

Operators of Self Serve, in a statement Saturday, said that the court was clear: “Hosting one erotic film festival, on one weekend of the year does not make the Guild an adult amusement establishment, just like a club that plays jazz music once a year would not become a jazz club. This ruling guarantees that Self Serve and the Guild Cinema can carry out their festival without fearing that free speech will be abridged.”  

The Supreme Court, in its ruling, did not touch on whether the Guild's free speech rights were violated. 

“In overturning the lower courts’ ruling, the justices said, “because the Guild engaged in only occasional showings of adult films, the Guild is not an adult amusement establishment as defined in the Albuquerque Code of Ordinances.”

Now, Pornotopia's organizers said they're eyeing November for their first adult film festival in four years.  

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