Wichita Poised to Shut Down All Porn Shops

After a two year grace period, porn shops in Wichita, Kan., may be forced out of the city after an ordinance took effect this year.

Shops, such as Circle Cinema, that rent out adult videos and novelties are required to be 500 feet from any church, school, public park, day care center, residential area, Old Town or another adult business, according to the ordinance. Critics say that is basically kicking the shops out.

Wichita enacted the law in 2005 and the stores had a two year grace period.

"They shouldn't be forced to move, they've been in the community for 30 years," said Chris O'Hara, attorney for Circle Cinema, who believes the ordinance is unconstitutional.

Supporters of the law, however, say residents in the community have the right to set their community standards. Jan Beemer of Operation Southwind, an organization concerned with the community standards in relationship to the level of pornographic and obscene material in Sedgwick County, pushed for change in the city.

Four shops have closed down and two others are negotiating with the city. Some store owners said they'll wait for the city to kick them out.

While O'Hara intends to "fight this as far as we have to," pro-family organizations are rallying supporters against pornography and its negative toll on teens and adults, including churchgoers.

Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and a prominent Southern Baptist leader, says pornography is "perhaps among the most pernicious" of all the moral and ethical issues facing families in the 21st century.

With porn spreading more rampantly through the Internet and wireless devices, not even Christian homes are immune from the dangers posed by pornography, Land has said.

Americans concerned with the floodtide of pornography joined last October the 20th annual White Ribbons Against Pornography Week, raising public awareness of the harmful effects of porn and to push for the enforcement of federal obscenity laws.