Gov. Herbert signs resolution declaring porn a ‘public health crisis’

Gov. Gary Herbert and others gather for the ceremonial signing of Sen. Todd Weiler's resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 19, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Governor's Office, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – A resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert Tuesday. Accompanying the resolution was the signing of a bill requiring computer technicians to report instances of child pornography they may encounter on computers they service.

Tuesday’s signing of the legislation was ceremonial as the governor already signed the resolution several weeks ago following the close of the Legislatures general session.

We are sounding a voice of warning,” Herbert said before a room packed with media, officials and others present for the signing Tuesday.

“People generally know about the dangers of drugs and alcohol that can be found out there,” Herbert said, “but we also want our young people to know that there is a particular psychological and physiological detriment that comes from addiction to pornography, too”

The anti-pornography resolution, originally signed by the governor at the end of March, does not ban pornography. Instead, it’s stated purpose is to raise awareness and education about the perceived social ills pornography is said to cause.

The resolution declares that “pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.”

Pornography, according to the resolution, has many negative affects on the viewer from beginning to see women as objects and commodities to finding sexual violence against the same somehow acceptable.

… Because pornography treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use, it teaches girls they are to be used and teaches boys to be users; WHEREAS, pornography normalizes violence and abuse of women and children; WHEREAS, pornography treats women and children as objects and often depicts rape and abuse as if they are harmless; WHEREAS, pornography equates violence towards women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography …

Potential physiological effects on developing brains are also mentioned in the resolution.

… Detrimental effects on pornography’s users can impact brain development and functioning, contribute to emotional and medical illnesses, shape deviant sexual arousal, and lead to difficulty in forming or maintaining intimate relationships, as well as problematic or harmful sexual behaviors and addiction; WHEREAS, recent research indicates that pornography is potentially biologically addictive, which means the user requires more novelty, often in the form of more shocking material, in order to be satisfied …

“I agree with many others that have called pornography a ‘plague’ in our society,” the resolution’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Todd Weiler said.

Since introducing the legislation last year, Weiler said he’s been mocked and scorned in the media for it. But he didn’t appear to care much as he spoke about it prior to the governor’s ceremonial signing.

“The world is watching,” Weiler said.

Utah is the first state to produce this type of legislation.

Utah is once again leading the nation as the first state to declare pornography a public health crisis,” Herbert said.

While opponents of pornography cite many studies detailing the alleged impacts it has for the negative, others say there either isn’t enough research or that research is inconclusive.

Dr. Brian Willoughby, who teaches at Brigham Young University’s College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, also spoke prior to the signing and said he believes there is enough research out there to support the idea of pornography as a health hazard.

“I believe that we now have enough research to suggest that pornography is, in fact, a significant health crisis to our society,” Willoughby said. He nevertheless added that much more research needs to do done in order to “truly understand the long-term and short-term results of pornography use.”

We have a number of strong voices crying to the people to raise awareness of the health crisis,” Herbert said.

While Herbert and others lauded the resolution, one of the pornography industry’s biggest names is responding by saying he’ll send a free issue of his adult publication to the homes of Utah legislators, The Washington Times reported.

Larry Flint, the founder and chairman of “Hustler Magazine,” said the legislators will be getting his magazine’s annual anniversary issue in the mail.

(T)he Utah Legislature is obviously confused about what constitutes a public health crisis, so I’ll send them our latest issue and they can see for themselves that we’re no danger to the public, only to the repressed,” Flynt said in a statement, according to The Washington Times.

Jonathan Johnson, Overstock.com board chairman, and a Republican candidate for Utah governor, called Flint’s actions “revolting and disgraceful.”

“Sending a disturbing and pornographic magazine to homes where our children are present is a heinous act which Larry should be utterly ashamed,” Johnson said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

Like others, the gubernatorial candidate praised the Legislature for declaring pornography a public health hazard.

In conjunction with the ceremonial signing of Weiler’s anti-pornography resolution was the signing of Rep. Craig Hall’s bill requiring computer technicians and IT professionals to report instances of child pornography they may encounter on a client’s computer they work on.

This will provide a tool (to law enforcement) to more strongly fight the scourge of child pornography,” Hall said.

Should a computer technician encounter child pornography on a client’s computer, the technician is required to report what they found to law enforcement. Failure to do so can result in being charged with a class B misdemeanor.

The new law is similar to others passed in 12 other states, Hall said.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • munchie April 20, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Good to see our legislature is working on important issues. Health crisis? Well, I guess it could lead to blindness. I can’t believe we pay these guys.

  • Eddieboy April 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

    I agree with “Munchie” this piece of legislation? Someone please explain what, why, and how this is going to effect in anyway fighting child pornography? Your IT guy just finished in his office and now he goes into the mainframe and checks on who’s being naughty or nice? This is ridiculous. If this makes everyone feel better………… Okay.

  • anybody home April 21, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Step number one: Remove the Pole Dancing DVDs from the public libraries…I hear the LDS ladies love pole dancing.

  • .... April 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Hey anybody home. don’t forget the National Geographic magazines at the library, those magazines are loaded with porn. LOL !

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