State Senator To Run More Anti-Porn Legislation In 2017

Jan 3, 2017

Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler received national attention last year for his resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis. Now he’s working on a bill that would allow people to sue porn producers for damages.

The Republican senator says he sees the pornography industry as similar to the tobacco industry.

“Seventy years ago,” Weiler says, “the tobacco industry denied that its product was addictive and they denied that their products were harmful. The first 30 or so people that sued them lost, but eventually that tide turned.”

Weiler has previously called for more research on the effects of pornography, and is confident that it will prove to be harmful.

But in the meantime, the senator from Woods Cross thinks “that people should have the right to go to court and try to make their case for that.”

Weiler says the bill he’s drafting would exempt porn websites from being sued if they include two things—a warning that viewing pornographic material may be harmful, and “a realistic and material effort at age-verifying people that are viewing the content,” Weiler says. “That may be more than just saying, ‘click here if you’re over the age of 21,’ because of course, an 11-year-old can click there.”

The state senator echoed previous claims that he doesn’t want to take away anyone’s right to view pornography.

In 2016 the state Legislature passed a non-binding resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis in Utah. Weiler says that this year other states like Tennessee and Virginia have taken up similar resolutions.