DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas City Council voted on Wednesday to settle a lawsuit involving a controversial convention, an adult-themed event called Exxxotica, the city kept out three years ago.
The lawsuit made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which ruled against the city, paving the way for the settlement agreement.
Dallas City Council members didn’t discuss the case Wednesday, but SMU Constitutional Law Professor Dale Carpenter called it “a waste of taxpayer money.”
Carpenter said the Dallas City Council should never have voted to ban Exxxotica from the city’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Now, more than three years later, the city council settled the lawsuit filed by the event operator for $650,000.
“A very expensive, taxpayer-funded grandstanding on the part of the city council members to look as if they’re moral,” said Carpenter.
At the time, former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, a slim majority of council members and others expressed concerns the Exxxotica exploited women and promoted sexual abuse.
The event operator said the goal was to celebrate sex in a positive and educational way.
Other council members warned the event was protected by the First Amendment.
Professor Carpenter says those council members got it right.
“It’s in the Constitution and it’s very clear in the Constitution, even if you don’t like the speech, and especially if you don’t like the speech — it’s protected speech,” he said.
Professor Carpenter said it’s a similar situation with Chick-fil-A, which was banned from San Antonio’s airport.
City leaders weren’t happy the restaurant donated to religious groups they believe were against the LGBTQ community.
Carpenter predicts the city will lose, too.