Rolling Stone Surveys Ongoing Republican War on Porn

Rolling Stone Surveys Ongoing Republican War on Porn

WASHINGTON — Rolling Stone magazine this week published a report on the ongoing anti-porn crusades in Republican-controlled states.

Penned by Miles Klee and titled “Republicans Are Coming to Take Your Porn (Again),” the report notes that “conservative legislation framed around ‘protecting children’ from adult content could also block critical information about sexual health and gender.”

Klee reports on the Utah legislature’s recent attempt to obstruct online porn via an age verification requirement, and the subsequent decision by Pornhub to block access in the state.

Utah, Klee notes, “is only the latest state to institute a new obstacle to viewing porn online. Louisiana passed a similar law last year. Mississippi and Arkansas have approved their own versions of such legislation, which will take effect in July for both states. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin may soon sign yet another Republican-sponsored bill on age verification — the likes of which have been introduced in more than a dozen more state legislatures this year.”

Klee then mentions that First Amendment and internet freedom advocates have warned that these moral panic-fueled age verification laws, though framed as common-sense measures for protecting children, are in fact “part of a broader effort by the Christian right to ban or censor protected speech.” He also links the measures to other current morality campaigns, such as conservatives’ efforts to outlaw drag shows and purge school libraries, also justified by conservatives as matters of child protection. 

FSC Director of Communications Mike Stabile shared with Klee his opinion that the overall goal of all these campaigns is to shut down free speech on the internet.

“Conservatives have been trying to do this for decades,” Stabile said, noting that “many web-based businesses could be at risk” due to legislators’ focus on moral grandstanding and virtue signaling to crusading lobbies like NCOSE — the religiously inspired anti-porn group formerly known as Morality in Media — at the expense of actionable specifics.

“When the porn companies take states to court to debate the constitutionality of this invasive overreach, they’re not only declaring their right to freely sell adult content — they’re fighting to ensure that Republicans can’t widen the scope of what is considered obscene,” Klee concludes. “It’s as clear and crucial a front as we have in this all-consuming culture war.”

To read “Republicans Are Coming to Take Your Porn (Again),” visit RollingStone.com.

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