(Chuck Muth) – My friend Grover Norquist – president of Americans for Tax Reform and libertarian-conservative author of a book titled “Leave Us Alone” – is fond of saying that “no one’s life is a complete waste; some simply serve as bad examples.”
He wasn’t talking specifically about Reno lawyer and anti-brothel zealot Jason Guinasso – but he could’ve been.
Guinasso, as you may have read, filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Nevada on Monday asking the court to overturn Nevada’s unique law allowing legal prostitution in the state’s rural counties as long as it occurs in licensed and highly-regulated brothels.
At the heart of Guinasso’s lawsuit is a wafer-thin argument that Nevada’s legal brothels violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and, thus, Washington, DC should come into Nevada and tell Nevada what it can and can’t do.
Bye-bye, Tenth Amendment.
But it’s even worse than that.
It’s also an attack on the First Amendment; as the core of Guinasso’s claim is that websites and social media accounts of legal courtesans working in legal brothels in Nevada are transmitted across state lines where prostitution is illegal and, therefore, should be shut down.
Bye-bye, free speech.
Guinasso claims that if a woman working in a legal Nevada brothel encourages folks who read their websites, blogs or social media posts to come and visit them, that violates the federal Mann Act which makes it illegal for anyone to persuade, induce or entice someone to travel across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.
Of course, that law was established for people who are actually forcing women to engage in prostitution against their will. Real trafficking. But that’s simply not the case in Nevada’s legal brothels because all of the women who work there are there of their own free will.
Why can’t this guy just leave them alone? Live and let live.
Meanwhile, prostitution – including the actual trafficking of underage girls, which does not occur in legal brothels – is going on in Las Vegas and Reno, where it remains illegal, every day. It’s rampant. Just try walking down the Strip at night without being accosted by a “flipper” handing out “girls to your room” cards.
You’d think Guinasso and his merry band of busy-body, nanny-state, self-righteous moralists would focus on THAT problem; the REAL problem. But no.
This guy is obsessed with shutting down licensed, regulated and taxed legal brothels where the women who work there are safe and have no fear of being arrested. Where the clients are safe from getting a sexually transmitted disease – thanks to mandatory condom use and weekly testing – and have no fear of being arrested.
And make no mistake. Should Guinasso succeed in shutting down Nevada’s legal brothel industry, that won’t make prostitution go away.
All it’ll do is push it back underground and into the shadows, as we were reminded just this week when Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was charged for allegedly soliciting the services of an illegal sex worker in a Florida massage parlor.
An otherwise law-abiding, upstanding 77-year-old man who lost his wife of 48 years to ovarian cancer in 2011.
“Myra and I had something that was unusual, I think,” Kraft told Forbes in a 2012 interview. “For 10 months after Myra died, I cried every night. I would go out at nights to the events and parties, things I would have normally done with her, then come home to an empty house.”
And that gets to the heart of this business that most people don’t realize. Many of the men who visit Nevada’s legal brothels are elderly widowers who aren’t gonna be tripping the light fantastic in a Las Vegas nightclub hoping to “get lucky.”
For many men who visit Nevada’s legal brothels it’s not so much about the sex as it is enjoying the companionship of a consenting adult woman which they can no longer enjoy with their spouse or significant other.
And Jason Guinasso wants to criminalize that? Why can’t he just leave everyone else alone?
Or, at the very least, try to be a little intellectually honest.
When you read Guinasso’s lawsuit you’ll find it littered with statistics, figures and opinions related to prostitution in Nevada without making a distinction between prostitution that goes on illegally in motel rooms, massage parlors, strip clubs and back alleys and that which occurs legally in licensed, regulated and taxed brothels.
It’s hard to have an open, honest debate with people like Guinasso who intentionally try to mislead the public.
Women who voluntarily of their own free will choose – “a woman’s right to choose” – to work in a legal Nevada brothel simply aren’t being “trafficked.”
“Every single worker at the Mustang Ranch is required to undergo an FBI fingerprint and criminal database background check every single year,” Storey County Commissioner Lance Gilman, who also owns the Mustang Ranch, said in a statement on Monday.
“In over 4,000 work card applications filed over the last 20 years by working professionals and employees at the Mustang, not one has turned up to be a victim of trafficking. Not one.”
For people like Guinasso to compare these two totally different circumstances as if they were the same borders on libelous.
“This is a desperate act by Guinasso,” Mr. Gilman continued. “He’s trying to do an end run on the people of Nevada. Unfortunately, it’s just another political stunt by this man.”
Indeed. But let it not be said his life is a complete waste. Jason Guinasso expertly fills the role of bad example. Why can’t he just leave the rest of us alone?
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a limited-government grassroots advocacy organization, and government affairs counsel to the Nevada Brothel Association