FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Sexual rights and morality took center stage Tuesday night at Fort Wayne City Council. The ending result was that swingers club will live on to see many more days in the city.
The proposed ordinance that would have made them and other live sex act businesses illegal in the city did not pass in a vote.
Over the course of the evening, a lot was learned about the only swingers club in Fort Wayne, the Champagne Club, with dozens of its members in attendance as an attorney spoke on their behalf.
The conversation among the council was deep, serious and intense. Several of the councilmen were not convinced by the city’s arguments that the Champagne club is a health risk or a public nuisance.
Therefore, they said this discussion boiled down to morality. Should they allow their personal morals to to affect what free consenting adults do in a private club?
After lengthy dialogue and meditation, they took a vote and the ordinance did not pass. Three councilman voted for the ordinance, three against and one abstained. Five votes in favor were needed for it to pass.
“My clients are pleased with the action of council and that’s really all that we have to say,” said Angelica Fuelling, attorney for the Champagne Club.
Council president John Crawford spoke at length about his stance to vote against the ordinance.
“With the Champagne club there’s no proof that any of the bad things that have been occurring at the strip clubs have been occurring at that club,” he explained. “I didn’t see any proof that this club was hurting anyone and it was an issue of personal freedom to me and these people are living their lives the way they see fit and to me I don’t think government should be involved because once you draw that line and say this person’s morality is better than that person, where do I stop?”
Fuelling presented some basic facts about the club, which proved to be new information to many people in the Summit City.
It’s been open for eight years and has 15,281 active individuals. Nineteen percent or 2,880 of those members are from Fort Wayne.
She estimated that the club brings in $5 million to $10 million in tourism revenue to Fort Wayne, with the members contributing by staying in the city’s hotels and eating in its restaurants. She also noted that the club has no paid employees.
The councilman voted on another sexually oriented ordinance Tuesday night, one that would add more regulations for strip clubs. That one did pass.