Pole-dancing instructor forbidden from opening studio
Court/Assoc.: U.S. District Court, Western District, PA
Attorneys/Firms: Michael J. Healey (Healey & Hornack, P.C.); Witold Walczak, Sara Rose (ACLU-PA)
Dance instructor Stephanie Babines was been denied an occupancy permit by a small Butler County township to open a dance-and-fitness studio that will teach pole dancing. The suit claims that the township's permit denial violates the woman's First Amendment right to teach and communicate ideas about a lawful, constitutionally protected and increasingly popular form of art and fitness.
Babines is a university-educated, information-technology professional who also operates a dance and fitness program called Oh My You're Gorgeous. Ms. Babines teaches dance and fitness classes designed to help women express their sexuality.
On October 15, 2008, the ACLU reached an agreement with Adams Township that allows Babines to open her studio. In late January 2009 she reached a settlement with the township that covered damages and attorneys' fees.