By Gudrun Schultz

OTTAWA, Ontario, December 21, 2005 ( – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that group sex in publicly accessible venues is legal.

In a ruling handed down this morning, Canada’s Supreme Court has declared it is legal for clubs to provide opportunities for group sex. As long as consent is given, the area is somewhat private, and no payment is directly involved, partner exchanging or “swinging” and group participation in sexual acts is not considered illegal.

“The decision is certainly in line with the tendency of this court to throw out any restrictions to behavior,” said Gwen Landolt, vice president of Real Women of Canada. “The courts are gradually reducing public concern about morality and behavior that is offensive. Judges don’t have legitimacy.”

“There is a real trend to break down moral principles in Canadian society. Those principles have been built based on human experience about what is in the best interest of society.”

With sex clubs now protected by Canada’s supreme court, the potential social repercussions are staggering. The age of sexual consent in Canada is 14. Canadian teenagers can now legally participate in group sex offered by clubs (so long as alcohol is not sold on the premises).

“The implications are horrendous,” said Landolt. “It’s an exploitation of human sexuality. 14-year-olds will be exploited.”

The Supreme Court ruling addressed two Quebec Court of Appeal decisions that had arrived at opposite conclusions. The owners of two Montreal ‘swingers’ clubs were charged with operating bawdy houses, in both cases involving group sex. One was convicted, the other acquitted. The owner who was convicted appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court. The Crown appealed the acquittal of the other owner.

The Supreme Court’s decision was based upon the definition of what constitutes a public place and an ‘indecent act’. (Prostitution was not a factor in either case, even though payment was required at both locations before entry.)

One club was for members only, and the sexual activity took place in designated rooms, sometimes with on-lookers. The other club, which had a cursory doorman in place, used a moveable, transparent curtain to block off the dance floor at regular intervals, and the activity took place behind the curtain. In both clubs, according to the owners, entry was granted to adult patrons after a fee was paid and the person was notified about the nature of the club.

ÂIn general, case law has defined an indecent act as that behavior which either offends the community or has the potential to cause harm to the community in some way.

According to Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin, group sex neither offends nor harms the Canadian public.

Supreme Court Justices Major, Binnie, Deschamps, Fish, Abella and Charron agreed with McLachlin’s ruling. Justice Michel Bastarache and Justice Louis LeBel disagreed.

To view the ruling, see:
  R. vs. Kouri
  R. vs Labaye


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