A New Jersey gentlemen’s club scored a moral and litigious victory when a federal judge ruled in favor of BYOB advertisements as covered by free speech.
New Jersey’s threats of prosecution and other penalties against gentlemen’s clubs and other like-minded businesses that promote BYOB are now empty after a federal judge ruled such threats unconstitutional.
This means gentlemen’s clubs, restaurants and other businesses can freely promote BYOB.
Stiletto—a gentlemen’s club with locations in Atlantic City and Carlstadt, New Jersey—promotes BYOB as it doesn’t have a liquor license. This means customers can bring their own alcohol, permitted it isn’t hard liquor.
Before the ruling came down, Stiletto had filed suit out of fear of prosecution over promoting BYOB in the interests of its business. The suit involved the Garden State powers that be, including Atlantic City, its police chief, the state’s attorney general and the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (h/t New Jersey Advance Media).
Businesses that promoted BYOB were subject to prosecution and as such, could have risked its BYOB-establishment status in the first place.
“New Jersey’s statutory ban on BYOB advertising places a content-based restriction on speech that fails strict scrutiny because it is not supported by a compelling government interest,” U.S. District Court Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez wrote in his decision Monday, per NJ.com.
Rodriguez saw the state’s right to “regulate conduct regarding alcoholic beverages,” but not the manner in which the speech concerning that conduct is expressed. “Banning speech is different from and more intrusive than banning conduct,” the ruling continued.