Over two years ago, in March 2015, the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a complaint in US District Court claiming that California’s outdated anti-prostitution
statute known as California Penal Code 647(b), unfairly deprives adults of the right to private consensual activity, criminalizes the discussion of such activity, and unconstitutionally places prohibitions on individuals’ right to freely associate.
The court case known as ESPLERP v Gascon case number 16-15927 is now before the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Oral Arguments have been set for Thursday October 19th at 9am. The case is supported by amicus briefs from over thirty civil rights and LGBTQ organizations, including the ACLU, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the Free Speech Coalition, Transgender Law
Center, and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. Each side will be allotted 20 minutes to make its case.
The named defendants are San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Marin County District Attorney Edward S. Berberian, Jr. and Sonoma County
District Attorney Jill Ravitch, together with Kamala Harris, then Attorney General of the State of California, all in their official capacities. Kamala Harris is now a US Senator, and it is assumed the new Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, will continue to act in the same official capacity.
The court case has been primarily funded by small individual donations from supporters and allies
through crowdfunding sites such as Crowdrise.