Gay, nude male dancing will continue in North Miami Beach for quite a while.
The city council of North Miami Beach has voted unanimously to grandfather in nude dancing for Swinging Richard’s and the two straight clubs involved in the brouhaha, Dean’s Gold and G5.
In exchange for dropping their lawsuit against the city, Swinging Richards has procured from the city a new license, specifying the right to maintain nudity while serving alcohol.
The city commission vote in effect ‘grandfathers’ in these three establishments, but inhibits new licensees from securing the same privilege, absent their own litigation contesting the constitutionality of the ordinance prohibiting nudity and alcohol.
Stated CB Jones, the owner of Swinging Richard’s, also based in Atlanta, “All parties concerned thought that the lawsuit was strong enough to prevail. It was a better move to rewrite an old ordinance into a better ordinance which is more in step with modern times.”
Jones continued: “Even the Mayor wanted this issue settled. We were not causing a problem, but giving people a good time.” He applauded the city for “resolving the issue without going to a lengthy trail that would have been costly for both sides.” But in fact Jones has had to engage considerable expense in filing a case against the city both in federal and state courts, before eventually prevailing.
“It isn’t really a victory when you just win what you should have had in the first place,” Jones said.
From the outset, the club caused no problems, but other gay clubs complained they were getting an unfair advantage in having nudity.
However, the premise of the litigation he filed against the city is that while an anti-nudity ordinance was in place since 1994, it was never enforced against the straight clubs in town.
As published in SFGN months ago, one of the points made by the club’s lawyers was that the city was targeting and singling out homosexuality for prosecution.
In fact, a report from the police department on the Federal Highway establishment indicated that there was no significant crime coming out of the clubs.
“I appreciate the city recognizing that we males have the right to dance nude also,” Jones stated.
Jones added that he hoped resolution of the dispute would generate more business for his club.
“We recognize that because of the controversy or possible raids some customers may have been disinclined to enjoy the Swinging Richard’s experience., “ Jones stated, “but now they should know our doors are wide open, and there are dozens of dancers, great entertainment, and good clean fun inviting them into our beautiful venue.”
A constitutional rights lawyer himself, Jones has fought for gay rights for decades, representing once in 1984 a Carte Blanche employee dismissed for being gay. “This too,” he added, was “fundamentally a civil rights case, more about equal protection for gays; that if girls can dance nude and the police allow, so can gay men.”