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Senator challenges District's same-sex marriage law

Zoning warning for host of sex parties

A Montgomery County zoning inspector has issued a warning to a Bethesda man who says he hosts sex parties in the spacious home he rents in Bethesda.

The renter, Paul Pickthorne, said in an interview that he is a practitioner of "BDSM," an acronym for "bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism." Since renting the house last summer, Pickthorne said, he has hosted four parties in the 6300 block of Tone Drive attended by dozens of people who also are involved "in the scene," as he called it.

Because Pickthorne accepted "donations" of $20 to $50 from the attendees, the parties constituted "a commercial enterprise," said zoning inspector Frank De Lange, who issued Pickthorne a warning last week. If Pickthorne holds future parties that participants pay to attend, De Lange said, he could be assessed a fine.

-- Paul Duggan


Nature Conservancy protects Va. wetlands

The Nature Conservancy said Wednesday that it had legally protected a large area of swampland and river bottom along a pristine Virginia tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

The environmental group said that it had bought about 13,350 acres on Virginia's Middle Peninsula -- between the Rappahannock and York rivers -- from a logging company. The group then resold the land to another forestry company at a loss, with new legal guarantees that would prevent logging in ecologically sensitive areas in wetlands or near streams.

Logging would be allowed in other areas of the parcel, the group said. Hunting and fishing would also be allowed.

A Virginia state official said the purchase was the largest conservation easement ever recorded in Virginia.

-- David A. Fahrenthold

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