Citizens of Upper Holmesburg in the Philadelphia area received flyers advising that a property that had been used as a reception hall for weddings, parties, and bar mitzvahs was soon going to reopen as Saints & Sinners, a swingers sex club. The business is already present in two other locations and has a motto of "I'd rather run with the sinners than walk with the saints."
While I am a criminal defense lawyer and avoid property law like the plague, this issue interested me. It draws into conflict my personal conservative Christian values, the ones that oppose swinging, adultery, and casual sex, versus my legal belief that a property owner generally has the right to enjoythe property as the owner deems fit. As a parent of three young kids, would I want a swingers club in my backyard? The answer is no. Also, based upon my moral values, I am opposed to such an establishment. However, while I am entitled to my own values and believe systems, I respect that others are entitled to their values, and it is not up to me to tell other people how to use their property. Just as I am opposed to the swinging, a swinger may be opposed to my Christian values and thereby oppose having a church in the community.
My lack of opposition to the club would change if sexual activities occurred outside and could be viewed by the public. My opposition though is not particular to swingers because I would oppose any person or persons engaging in sexual activity in a neighborhood filled with children. Performing sexual acts in public could lead to charges of Indecent Exposure and Disorderly Conduct, and if viewed by minors under the age of 18, it could lead to Corruption of Minors charges.
People may argue that swingers are likely to bring the "wrong type of people" into a community. Again, I disagree with people using their morals to put restrictions on the property use of others. Many people are okay with having a bar in the community, but people that leave a bar after having a bit too much to drink are can be charged with Public Drunkenness, Driving Under the Influence, or they get into alcohol-fueled assaults. Are we closing down the bars because some people choose to commit criminal acts outside of the establishment?
I believe that people are entitled to have their own belief systems, morals, and ethics. They can disagree with my morals and values, but that does not mean that we must disrespect or seek to impose our will on others. I would much rather have a restaurant that serves wings, a fresh seafood and meat store, and a water park next to my house instead of a swingers club. Problem is that we don't always get what we want. The great thing is that if I don't like living next to a swingers club, then I have the right to sell my property and move elsewhere.