BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Swinging Richards, the all-nude gay male strip club that opened last fall in North Miami Beach, has sued the city for demanding its dancers cover up.
"Female dancers have been allowed to dance nude and serve alcohol for years but as soon as a gay club is introduced the city has wanted to enforce old ordinances," writes Swinging Richards owner C.B. Jones in a news release announcing the lawsuit.
North Miami Beach City Attorney Darcee S. Siegel declined to comment on the lawsuit specifics.
"We got served late yesterday afternoon. I have not had time to sit down and digest it," she told The Miami Herald. Siegel said she will respond to the suit within the required 20 days.
Since 1994, North Miami Beach has banned total nudity in clubs where liquor is sold, but the city never enforced the ordinance until after Swinging Richards opened last October at 17450 Biscayne Blvd.
That location has featured nude female dancers for more than 20 years. Two other clubs in North Miami Beach -- Dean's Gold and G5ive Lounge -- also feature total female nudity.
For years, NMB allowed those clubs to operate without penalty. Now the city has threatened to enforce the '94 ordinance against all three clubs.
Jones says his Atlanta-based club is being discriminated against because its male nudity caters to gay men.
"Does everyone want to see nude male dancers onstage? Unequivocally no," Jones said. "But do they have as much right to view male performers as heterosexual patrons have to view female performers. Is the City’s reaction to nude male performances fair? Is this Equal protection or is this discrimination against gender or sexual preference? What's good for the goose is good for the gander."