Utah threatens liquor permit of theater showing ‘Deadpool’

Utah alcohol bosses have filed a complaint and will consider revoking the liquor license of a movie theater it says violated a state obscenity law by serving drinks while screening “Deadpool,” which features simulated sex scenes.

The theater said the law is unconstitutional and has threatened to challenge it in court if the complaint isn’t dropped.

Rocky Anderson, an attorney for Brewvies in Salt Lake City, said Monday the law violates free-speech rights and is so broadly written that even a movie featuring Michelangelo’s nude “David” sculpture would be banned if alcohol was served at a screening.

Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control filed the complaint against Brewvies after three undercover state officers attended a screening of “Deadpool” in February.

Investigators cited a state obscenity law that is generally used to regulate alcohol and nudity at strip clubs, which are required to have dancers wearing G-strings and pasties if the club serves liquor.

The law also bans the showing of any film with sex acts or simulated sex acts, full-frontal nudity or the “caressing” of breasts of buttocks. It only applies to businesses with liquor licenses, so most Utah movie theaters, which are alcohol free, are not cited under the law.

Brewvies, which has been open since 1997, only allows people 21 and older to attend movies and serves food and liquor to customers.

The DABC has scheduled a meeting in May to discuss or possibly settle the complaint before further disciplinary action.

The agency’s Vickie Ashby had no comment Monday and said she could not speak to the next steps in the disciplinary process. She directed questions to the attorney general’s office and State Bureau of Investigation, which ran the undercover investigation.

Dan Burton, a spokesman for the Utah attorney general’s office, declined to comment. The State Bureau of Investigation looked into the matter after the DABC sent it a compliant, according to Marissa Villasenor, a spokeswoman for Utah’s Department of Public Safety, which oversees the investigative bureau.

Anderson said he’ll challenge the law in court unless the complaint is dropped and Utah stops enforcing the obscenity law. Anderson said his client should also be repaid for a $1,627 fine the theater paid five years ago when it was cited under the same law for showing “The Hangover Part II.”

Anderson, who provided a copy of the investigative report to The Associated Press, said the fact that the film can be shown at other theaters nearby makes it clear Utah officials are using liquor laws to limit First Amendment rights of free speech.

Anderson said the Utah law is similar to an Idaho measure that lawmakers repealed this year after a theater sued after its liquor license was threatened for showing “Fifty Shades of Grey” while serving alcohol.


Federal judge declares Utah polygamy law unconstitutional

Utah’s anti-polygamy law is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled this week. State Attorney General Sean Reyes has already said that he plans to appeal the decision.

In December, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups said that the state could keep the ban, but would not be allowed to arrest people who violate it by living together in common-law marriage situations. This week Waddoups followed that decision with a ruling that the state had violated the religious, free speech, and due process rights of the plaintiffs. The state also owes them court fees, said Waddoups.

The plaintiffs are Kody Brown, star of the TLC reality series Sister Wives, his legal wife Meri, and three other women — Janelle, Christine, and Robyn — who claim to be three other wives of Brown. The four have 17 children.

The Browns sued the state of Utah in 2011 after the show appeared on the air because their now-public lifestyle broke state law, and a county prosecutor threatened charges. They moved to Las Vegas that same year to avoid prosecution.

In a statement, the family’s lawyer said that the ruling was “historic,” and he believed “will stand the test of time.”

As LifeSiteNews reported last year, Waddoups’ decision may have significant consequences for decreasing equality in marriage and society at large, not increasing it. As Dr. Jennifer Morse of the Ruth Institute said, the December “ruling confuses the private desires of individuals with the institution of marriage as a whole.”

“I have no doubt that these individual women and Mr. Brown are living this plural marriage lifestyle voluntarily,” said Morse. “What I dispute is that they are the only ones affected by changing the law to permit plural cohabitation or plural marriage.”

“Polygamous societies look very different from monogamous societies,” she explained. “In polygamous societies, wealthy men are at a huge competitive advantage over men of average means. The wealthy men, in effect, take more than their share of women. This triggers a whole series of reactions. The society begins to sanction the marriage of younger and younger women, sometimes no more than girls, to satisfy the demand for brides. The men grow more and more possessive and treat women more like possessions and less like people.”