The city council of Houston, Texas unanimously passed an updated ordinance Wednesday that effectively blocks a proposed "sex robot brothel" from opening.
A Canadian company that already operates an "adult love dolls rent before you buy service" in Toronto had hoped to open a location in Houston and even started construction before running into permit issues that halted work.
The company, KinkySdollS, sells and rents human-like dolls that can cost more than $3,000 each.
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Prior to the council's Wednesday vote, locals had organized to express their concerns; a petition speaking out against the business gained more than 10,000 signatures.
"A business like this would destroy homes, families, finances of our neighbors and cause major community uproars in the city," said Pastor Vega, one of the speakers at the meeting.
"As a woman, I am concerned and horrified to see where our society is taking us," Virginia Mireles said.
One council member said he planned to record the business' patrons entering the building and shame them online.
That council member spoke out against the business: "I know there's some people that will sit there and say, 'What does the City of Houston have to do with any of this?'" said councilman Greg Travis. "And the answer is 'We're not getting into your bedroom, but don't bring it into our district. Don't bring it into our city. This is not a good business for our city. We are not Sin City.'"
The council updated a local ordinance Wednesday to ban patrons from having sex with a device resembling a human at a business. Under the new regulation, a business could still sell the sex robots.
Turner speculated that the business might have been attracted to Houston because it remains the only major U.S. city without zoning and has a strong history of resisting regulation.
He said the council's move was not targeted at any one particular business, rather "at this type of behavior" by any businesses.
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