The CDA: It’s up to you!

Dear Friend of the Family:

It is up to you.

To you…to me…and to every other individual in Ohio who cares about the toll that sexually oriented businesses have taken – and continue to take – on the lives of men, women, and children in this state.

Every day – every day since I became a part of this organization in 1983 – my heart breaks as I see women abused, marriages shattered and families dismantled because a father becomes addicted to frequenting strip clubs and other sex businesses.

And the heartbreak doesn’t stop there.

We’ve worked closely with law enforcement officials who must devote so much of their time and energy to chasing sexual predators and child molesters, and we’ve listened to them as they tell of  the link between pornography, sex businesses, and those insidious crimes.

We’ve followed undercover investigations of strip clubs, and know that illegal drug sales, illegal alcohol sales, prostitution and rape also are inevitable links.

We’ve heard the cries of residents who’ve seen their property values plummet, and of moms, frightened that their kids will get caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting.

That’s why for years we’ve worked with the Ohio Legislature to enact two statewide regulations that would go so far to reduce all the harms associated with sex businesses.

One regulation would require sex businesses to close at Midnight.  The other would require a six-foot distance between nude or semi-nude employees and patrons.

Enacted on a statewide basis, these two regulations would go a long, long way toward ending all those evils, all those crimes, and all that hurting.

We first authored the Community Defense Act (CDA), the bill that contained those two statewide regulations, five years ago.  And ever since we’ve been working with our Legislature to get the bill passed and into law.

In two consecutive sessions of our General Assembly, CDA flew through the Ohio House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

93 to 0; then 92 to 5

But in both sessions, a handful of senators caved into pressure from the strip clubs’ lobbyist and blocked the bill.

In this present Legislature we literally were one day away from the bill being voted out of committee and onto the floor of the Senate, the final step before being sent to the Governor’s office and signed into law.

But at that 11th hour, it was yanked out of that committee, laid to rest for five months in another committee, then stripped of the two critical statewide regulations and passed into law – a bill that bore the name “Community Defense Act,” but that bore no resemblance to the bill that we designed to stop all the hurting, all the crimes, and all the heartbreak.


You bet we were. “Devastated” would say it better.


No!  We cannot give up.  Too much is at stake.

However, we will not go back directly to the Legislature.  Twice we nurtured CDA through the legislative process, only to have a few senators close the door on us.

Instead, the Ohio Constitution allows us to take our bill directly to Ohio’s voters.   It’s a complicated, lengthy and expensive process.  But it is the route that we must go, and we are committed to it.

Already we have taken the first step.  During June and July we authored a new bill focusing solely on the two statewide regulations. Then we created a petition including the text of the proposed law and secured the signatures of 1,000 registered voters so that we could present the bill and the petition to Attorney General Jim Petro’s office for approval.

Just two weeks ago we received Petro’s approval.

The next step in the process is the tough one.

We must now circulate our petition and secure approximately 150,000 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters. And we must do that by mid-November.

We know from our experience in circulating a petition to place Ohio’s Marriage Protection Amendment on the November 2004 ballot that this will be a very difficult step.

That’s why I began by saying, “It’s up to you.”

Attached to this message is a petition, along with a detailed set of instructions.

Please be a part of this effort and become a part of the solution to the multiple problems brought to Ohio by strips clubs and other sexually oriented businesses.

Perhaps you or your loved ones have never been directly affected by sex businesses.  But so many have.

The devastation to men, women, children and families is real.

The link to so many serious crimes is real.

Further, the affect on our culture, and thus on our children and our grandchildren, is real.

By refusing to take whatever steps we can to reduce the harmful effects of sex businesses, we are contributing to the creation of a culture in which instilling moral values, and imparting God’s beautiful plan for human sexuality, is becoming increasingly more difficult.

I know the temptation that you are feeling right now.  You’re busy.  “Those activist types, with time on their hands, will get it done,” you say.

Please don’t give into that temptation!  I’ll say it again:  It’s up to you.

Breaking the grip that sex businesses have on so many individuals, families and communities in Ohio will require your help in circulating this petition.

Read the instructions carefully. This is a legal document.  You won’t want your work voided by failing to cross a “t” or dot and “i.”

Download  the petition and take it to family, to friends, to work associates, to fellow church members, and to any and everyone else in your circle of influence.  Duplicate as many copies as you need.  Please note the important instruction that there can be only one county represented on each petition form.

I know that you care.

But do you care enough to become a part of the solution?   The success of this important project will require each one of us stepping out of our comfort zone and accepting the responsibility to become a part of the solution.

Return your petitions, full of signatures, just as soon as possible.

It really is up to you.


Phil Burress

P.S.  You will note on the “Instructions for Circulators” that as a circulator, you cannot sign your own petition.  For that reason you will need at least two copies of the petition.  If you are able to do nothing else, please initiate one petition form as the circulator and get another registered voter to sign it.  Then have that person initiate the other petition as the circulator so that you can sign that one.

P.P.S.  As I mentioned above, from the printing and postage to the inevitable legal fees, there are many expenses attached to a statewide signature collection effort.  We would greatly appreciate any financial assistance that you can provide. If you would like to send us a donation, please click here.