Legalizing Prostitution

Your extensive coverage (Dec.8) of the problems caused by prostitution points up the need to legalize and regulate prostitution.

Ever since Solon the Great first regulated the brothels of Athens 2,000 to 2,500 years ago, no better solution has been found, and all other solutions have proved to be worse than useless.

Prohibition of prostitution, our present solution here in California,is totally useless and only causes such problems as to warrant repeal of this law. Even the infamous edict of King Louis IX of France in 1254, which ordered all prostitutes banished from France or be burned at the stake, didn't work. Instead, the evils of his edict forced him to repeal his edict and legalize and regulate prostitution under a "roi de ribauds."

At the same time, unbridled free license protects neither the vendor nor the buyer of sexual services, nor the general public. In Lyons, France, for example, where such free license existed during the Middle Ages, a city ordinance appointed the mother superior of a local convent as the person in charge of all prostitution in Lyons, with powers to jail those who were not properly licensed.

The mother superior, it should be noted, was chosen for her honesty and ability to manage women and their problems and not because of any immoral conduct on her own part.

And, it should be noted, if Los Angeles created a "Storyville" area, or perhaps several of them, the Supreme Court, in a case involving the original Storyville in New Orleans, has already ruled such an ordinance constitutional and legal.

Neither would legalizing prostitution "legalize sin" as some would have it, for it has been perfectly legal to sin in these United States since the First Amendment was adopted, for that amendment forbids the use of the civil courts as ecclesiastical courts of conscience.

LYBRAND P. SMITH

Torrance

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