By Damon W. Root
The Washington Post’s Paul Duggan has a little too much fun reporting on the travails of Montgomery County, Maryland homeowner resident Paul Pickthorne, who alienated his neighbors by hosting “bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism” (BDSM) sex parties at his home and charging admission. As Duggan notes, “Pickthorne’s non-kinky neighbors” sent some angry emails to County Council member Roger Berliner. His response? Break out the zoning laws
"I share your sense of outrage that a sex club is operating in your lovely neighborhood," Berliner wrote back. "I want you to know that my office has been advised that our County has moved aggressively to put an end to this blight on your community."
The county moved, all right. Pickthorne received a written warning from a zoning inspector Monday. But hold on. Suppose Pickthorne stops charging admission, as he says he might? Suppose he complies with the regulations and holds all BDSM gatherings as strictly noncommercial functions in accordance with Section 59-C-1.31? What then?
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"Well," Berliner says on the phone, hesitating. "Certainly one has to respect everyone's constitutional rights."