NEW YORK (AP) _ A city effort to force most of New York's X-rated businesses to move got the go-ahead Wednesday from a federal appeals court.

The dispute started with city efforts to clean up Times Square.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said all the legal issues had been sufficiently argued in state court.

The ruling opens the door for enforcement of a zoning regulation requiring sex businesses to be at least 500 feet away from each other and not be near schools or houses of worship.

As many as 150 of the city's 177 sex businesses could be forced to move.

Strip club owners, patrons and employees argued the new zoning law violated their First Amendment rights. They took their case to federal court after the state's highest court upheld the rule in March.