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Champagne club allowed to remain open

FORT WAYNE, IND. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – The future of a swingers club was up in the air at Tuesday’s council meeting. A vote Tuesday night on a proposed ordinance that aimed to declare live sex act businesses a nuisance, saying they “contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.”

There is one swingers club currently operating in Fort Wayne, the Champagne Club on Nuttman Ave.

If the ordinance had passed , the club would have been forced to close. Some councilmen said the facts given to the council weren’t strong enough to prove swingers clubs posed a health risk to the community.

After an intense and extensive council meeting the swingers club ordinance was dismissed. The vote was 3-3 and councilmen Ensley abstained from voting. Therefore the swingers club can operate as it has been.

It was standing room only in Tuesday’s council meeting as members of the swingers club lined the back of the room. An attorney for the club gave the council stats about the Champagne Club.

The attorney said there are 15,281 individual members with 19% of those being residents of Fort Wayne. In order to be part of the club the attorney says you have to pay to be a member, and pass a background check. Everyone brings their own alcohol, the doors are always locked, and there are no windows to the establishment. The attorney added that the club brings an economic benefit for the community saying they estimate $5-$10 million in tourism revenue.

One swinger says there is a misconception of what actually happens at a swingers club.

“You go there, you meet lifestyle members, like minded members. It’s just a fun place, a safe place it’s just a fun place to be at. A lot of dancing, a lot of flirting, a lot of love,” he said.

Some councilmen said the Champagne Club puts Fort Wayne in a bad light. While others argued that those who go the the swingers clubs are grown adults making their own decisions. Throughout the discussion of the ordinance morality was talked about extensively.

“I don’t think government should be involved. Once I draw that line saying this person’s morality is better than that person’s where do I stop,” said John Crawford.

“I, in good conscience, can not be an advocate and use the weight of my position to advocate for something I think is immoral. I am also very interested in limited government and I didn’t feel comfortable using the authority and force of government,” said Paul Ensley.

“You have to draw the distinction. Is it morality that affects the public at large, verses not? My morality might be different than others, and when it comes to just a strictly moral decision it’s a slippery slope if you start making those decisions purely on morality,” said Michael Barranda.

The Champagne Club’s attorney said her clients are very pleased with the outcome of the vote.

Kaitlyn Kendall

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