Lyon County Voters to Weigh In On Fate of Legal Brothels This November
The Lyon County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Thursday to let voters weigh in on the fate of legal brothels this November.
"Shall the Lyon County Board of Commissioners rescind Title 3, Chapter 5, the prostitution ordinance, in order to end legalized prostitution in Lyon County, Nevada?"
And with that, Commissioners voted 5-0 on Thursday to let voters weigh in on the fate of legal brothels this November.
The ban initiative will be on the ballot as an advisory question, which means, voters will have their say, but it's up to county commissioners to make the final decision.
Recently, petitioners who wanted to ban brothels circulated a referendum, tried to get enough signatures for the November election. However, County Manager Jeff Page says the wording was not clear to voters. He said the way it was written would make it difficult for any possible changes or improvements to the possible ban ordinance in the future.
Page explains, "A 'yes' vote actually meant you were freezing the code, 'no' vote meant you were closing the brothels, so it was confusing to the public to begin with."
The brothel ban petitioners are actually in favor of the rewrite and agreed to abandon their referendum if the county can successfully draft an improved version.
Denise Berumen, who opposes brothels, says, "The whole purpose behind the referendum was to be able to bring the law before the people so they could decide." Christopher Turbeville, who also initially signed the referendum says, "The people who are affected by this industry, in this community, need to have a voice."
It was a bittersweet outcome for the county's legal sex workers and other brothel employees. Like Alicia Little, who says she hopes the draft will not only be more clear, but also less stigmatizing. Little says terms like 'prostitution' are loaded words, "What I'm hoping to see come June, is very favorable language that talks about us as 'sex workers' and our working location as a 'brothel.'"