Woodhull Freedom Foundation Offers Take on BDSM Ruling

Mar 9, 2016 10:15 AM PST

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Woodhull Freedom Foundation today issued a statement regarding the recent ruling by the federal court that held that Americans have no constitutional right to engage in consensual BDSM activity.

“The danger in advocating only for a specific type of sexual expression is that other forms of intimate sexual expression become neglected, resulting in decisions such as the recent ruling in Virginia,” said Ricci Levy, president and CEO of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, in the case John Doe v. George Mason University, et. al.

“This ruling appears to directly contradict the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which held that states could not criminalize consensual intimate activity between adults.”

Woodhull’s position, Levy said, is that the ruling should be a clarion call for advocates of sexual freedom and personal autonomy, to join together and insist on the human right to consensual sexual expression — of any kind.

Since Lawrence v. Texas, the law has been clear that citizens have a right to engage in whatever sort of consensual sexual activity they choose within the privacy of their own homes as long as money is not involved, Levy said.

But the recent Virginia ruling, Levy said, found there is “no constitutionally protected and judicially enforceable fundamental liberty interest under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to engage in BDSM sexual activity.”

Each state, under this analysis, will therefore be free to regulate BDSM conduct under this new ruling, Levy said.

“The minute we heard the court decision, we began to bring together a team of attorneys to evaluate Woodhull’s response, and get the word out reg arding the potential danger posed by this decision,” Levy said. “We have been warning about, and preparing for, the current hostile climate towards sexual expression, and the risks to fundamental human rights.”

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