FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The proposals are now on the table and Fort Wayne City Council members have two weeks to read and consider them. Those proposals would ban swingers clubs in Fort Wayne and put tighter restrictions on strip clubs in the city.
Restrictions on strip clubs would include requiring a special license to run a strip club or to work at a strip club as well as extra fees and allowing police to inspect the “portion of the premise where patrons are permitted.” Those inspections would have to be allowed “from time to time” as the ordinance is written now.
“Sex acts that occur at these places open to the paying public increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s),” the city said in a statement to WANE 15 News.
But one person who spoke to City Council said he does not believe strip clubs and swingers clubs in Fort Wayne are the reason for an increase in STD’s.
“I just attended the Board of Health quarterly meeting, and sexually oriented businesses didn’t come up one time when they were talking about that,” said Bryan Merriweather, an opponent of these ordinances. “They were more concerned about the statistics and the facts that the numbers have doubled in the past decade. So, when I’m reading this, I’m thinking ‘well, the number of strip clubs hasn’t doubled.'”
Merriweather said he hoped the city would work with Fort Wayne’s sexual oriented businesses to educate people about STD’s, but one person who is a member of the Champagne Club, Fort Wayne’s lone swingers club, and chose to speak anonymously, said STD’s are not being spread at Champagne.
“There is not a self-respecting individual that frequents the club that does not conduct regular STD testing while also using protection for their benefit, their spouse’s benefit and the benefit of their other partners,” the anonymous club member, who identified himself as “Kevin” said.
Fifth District City Councilman Geoff Paddock says the location of some of these businesses is what bothers him.
“One allegedly is near a school in my district and a neighborhood in my district within sight of a playground and a swimming pool,” paddock said. “So, those are things that are of concern to me.”
Others worry about sex trafficking opportunities in sexually oriented businesses.
“These types of sexually oriented businesses are not a part of who we are and what we’re going to draw and how we’re going to build positively as a city and as a community,” said Reverend Jeffrey Springer who went on to say these businesses “open the door for sex trafficking.”
Kevin, the anonymous Champagne club member, said that does not happen at Champagne.
“Not a snowball’s chance in hell at Champagne club,” Kevin said. “There’s nobody that I’ve met there that would ever pay anyone for sex, and if anyone caught word of that, myself included, I would guarantee that that person would be handled appropriately and the authorities called as necessary.”
City Council will discuss these two ordinances in a public meeting in two weeks.