Sandy Springs scraps ban on sex toy sales

Sandy Springs City Hall in a photo taken in 2012.

Sandy Springs City Hall in a photo taken in 2012.

An ordinance didn’t allow them to do so before, but the people of Sandy Springs can now purchase and sell sexual toys and devices.

The City of Sandy Springs' Mayor and Council lifted the ban on Tuesday, March 21 when they agreed to repeal that section of chapter 38 of the city code which categorized "devices designed or marketed for the stimulation of human genital organs" as obscene material.

“With the repeal, our code now matches up with state law regarding adult devices by not prohibiting the sale of such devices,” said Sharon Kraun, the communications director for the City of Sandy Springs. “With the repeal, that portion of our code is no longer an issue, but the City will have no further comment since there is pending litigation related to the case.”

Sandy Springs never enforced the ban, but it was challenged in a lawsuit by an adult bookstore, and then in a separate 2014 lawsuit filed by Melissa Davenport and Marshall Henry.

Davenport has suffered from multiple sclerosis since 1996 and said she used sexual devices with her husband to facilitate intimacy and wanted to sell them to others with the same or a similar condition. Henry is an artist who also uses sex toys in his artwork.

Sandy Springs first enacted the ordinance in 2005 by banning the public display of sex toys by retailers. Such devices could only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription. Kraun added that this was a provision that mirrored state code, at the time.

The federal appeals court upheld the Sandy Springs ordinance in August 2016, but indicated that their decision was wrong and encouraged the plaintiffs to ask the 11th Circuit Court to reconsider the issue. The circuit court threw out the previous ruling on March 14 and agreed to re-hear the case.

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