We can understand what Faribault County is trying to do with its adult use ordinance. It doesn't want any surprise adult-oriented businesses popping up in a way and in a place that would go against the grain of community standards. Currently, there is no ordinance in place, so an adult bookstore, theater, cabaret or novelty could not be prohibited in any way.
What the county wants to do through an ordinance is lay out where and how these businesses can open. For instance, a proposed ordinance prohibits alcohol use, allows only legal adults to enter, limits hours of operations and keeps these types of businesses away from school, churches, etc.
The proposed ordinance, which can be viewed at faribaultcountyswcd.com, does not apply to cities within the county. They have to enact their own ordinances. Citizens can weigh in on the county proposal at 7 p.m. Monday in the Ag Center conference room in Blue Earth. The ordinance will then be presented to county commissioners.
As noted, we understand what the county is doing. At the same time, we hope the county acts in a fair manner in making sure its limitations do not translate into a virtual ban on adult use businesses. The point should be sensible regulation, not censorship. The types of business in question may indeed not fit well into rural, religious southern Minnesota. But everyone has a right to his or her tastes and preferences, as long as he or she is not harming others. We all must remember that onerous regulations can be turned around on us or on the groups to which we belong when we fall out of the majority. In other words, minorities and individuals still have rights.