Door opens for citizens to file legal complaints against porn producers

Monday, April 6, 2020
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

child on desktop computerUtah has taken another step forward to protect part of its population from the negative impacts of pornography.

In 2016, Utah's lawmakers passed a resolution declaring pornography to be a "public health crisis." Last week, over protests from the "adult entertainment" industry, Governor Gary Herbert (R-Utah) allowed a law to go into effect without his signature which requires pornographers to place a one-sentence warning label on obscene materials.

Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver tells OneNewsNow that he thinks it's a good law.

"In fact, this covers what is not protected by the Constitution," he explains. "Obscenity has never been a constitutionally protected right, so I think it's a good law … that requires a warning that the content of the materials may be harmful to minors."

The new law doesn't give the state the sole responsibility for filing against a porn distributor.

Staver

"Certainly anybody can bring a lawsuit – including private citizens – if the label is not there," the attorney elaborates. "And I think that's why you're going to see this label on these obscene materials warning people that [it] is harmful or could be harmful to minors."

And it's good for the community, Staver adds. "The consumer needs to know [of the potential for harm] – and I think this is a consumer protection law in Utah," he offers.

Staver stresses the law can be defended in court if the porn industry files an action against it because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that obscenity is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. Staver suggests the Utah legislation could be a model for other states to adopt.

The Associated Press reports that a judge would have to decide if the material qualifies as obscene – and that if porn producers don't include that warning label about potential harm to minors, they could face a $2,500 penalty per violation. AP also notes that pornographers could avoid the penalty by showing that they have included the label "most of the time."

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