Duncanville, Texas, which proclaims itself "The Perfect Blend of Family, Community and Business," is a city of 36,000 just southwest of Dallas. While it has about 50 places of worship, it does not have a single, registered, sexually-oriented business. It does, however, feature a late–’70s, split-level home on Cedar Ridge Drive owned by a couple of swingers.Since 2004, Jim Trulock and Julie Norris have regularly transformed their semisecluded abode, situated on a wooded, one-acre lot, into “The Cherry Pit,” a popular spot for other swingers on weekends. With attractions like “Naked Twister®,” an oversized hot tub, and “the pit” (a room featuring six beds shoved together in front of a fireplace), it’s little wonder they sometimes attract as many as 100 people from surrounding areas.
All that traffic, unfortunately, eventually garnered the attention of the prudes at city hall. After investigating complaints from residents about an excessive number of cars rolling through the streets, city officials were horrified to discover that the destination of all these vehicles was a den of debauchery within their sovereign city limits.
In response, the city decided to outlaw sex clubs in residential areas altogether. Some have speculated that the Baptists running Duncanville did this because they feared the parties might lead to dancing.
For their part, city officials contend they are not just another uptight Texas town trying to oust swappers of the spouse. They say it all boils down to a matter of law. More specifically, they assert Trulock is operating a business featuring live sex acts.
"It's not trying to judge anyone or pass judgment on someone's lifestyle," city spokeswoman Tonya Lewis said. "We're not about infringing on the rights of the Cherry Pit patrons or owners," she contended. "But now your right to have fun has infringed on everyone else's. And now you have to draw the line."
That line was apparently drawn directly in front of Trulock’s house. When the couple tried to alleviate the traffic situation by encouraging carpools, the city singled them out by erecting No Parking signs on the street in front of their driveway. Trulock and Norris subsequently arranged for off-site parking for their guests.
Days after the ordinance was passed, Trulock filed suit against the city. According to their attorney, Ed Klein, the new law is unconstitutional on the grounds that it invades the couple's privacy, denies them due process, and is overly vague. He accused the city of having no "constitutionally acceptable" grounds to enact the ordinance.
Klein maintains the Cherry Pit is nothing more than a private residence where a group of friends get together on weekends to socialize in whatever way they prefer. "I don't think it's persecution so much as an invasion of their privacy," Klein said. "What they do behind closed doors, unless it's some kind of activity involving violence or children or animals or drugs, it's none of the government's business!"
Amen, brother! If consenting adults want to dip their pens in sundry wells, the government should keep its nose out of the ink, unless, of course, it’s some politician who just wants to get his freak on.
Despite what the puritanical politicians profess, the Cherry Pit is not an actual business, since no one is charged admission to the parties. Instead, guests are encouraged to make "voluntary donations" to cover the cost of food and refreshments, which they occasionally do, on the order of $10 or $20.
Klein likens the gatherings to Super Bowl parties: "If I invite a bunch of people over to my house to watch the Super Bowl and I provide the refreshments and I ask them for 10 bucks to defray the costs, it's just like this. It's just that the activity that goes on isn't watching the Super Bowl."
According to Klein, the swingers’ fight to protect their lifestyle in the privacy of their own home is supported by a recent Supreme Court decision, the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case that struck down Texas' sodomy law. "That case is the seminal case about regulating private conduct," he said. "Any kind of private activity, [even] wearing pink socks in your home."
A “seminal” case? Truer words were never spoken.
City officials declare the lawsuit won't stop their efforts to shut down the parties. "We will continue to enforce the ordinances," Lewis proudly announced.
As for those who frequent the Cherry Pit, they say they’re “frustrated.” There are few things in this world sadder than a frustrated swinger.
Dawn Burton, a regular guest at the parties, summed it up by saying, "It's crazy that they want to force their morality down our throats." The nerve of those prigs. Don’t they know that swingers’ throats are usually occupied by other swingers?