Utah Governor Declares Porn a ‘Public Health Hazard’ While Calling It a ‘First Amendment Right’

HerbertSALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Republican governor of Utah has signed a resolution declaring pornography a “public health hazard” to the state, while simultaneously remarking that he does not wish to ban the viewing of pornography, which he believes would “trample on people’s First Amendment rights.”

“We realize this is a bold assertion and there are some out there who will disagree with us,” Gov. Gary Hebert said during a press conference on Tuesday. “We’re here to say it is, in fact, the full-fledged truth.”

The resolution, which holds no legal weight to close any pornographic businesses in the state, merely serves as a statement on the official position of the state.

“This resolution recognizes that pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms, and recognizes the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation,” S.C.R. 9 reads.

The motion outlines that pornography creates a “sexually toxic environment” and contributes to the “hypersexualization of teens.” It also provides a variety of specific aspects in which pornography is harmful to society.

“[P]ornography 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,” the resolution says. “[R]ecent 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.”

“[T]his biological addiction leads to increasing themes of risky sexual behaviors, extreme degradation, violence, and child sexual abuse images and child pornography,” it continues. “[P]ornography use is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity.”

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Groups such as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation applauded the effort.

“I believe pornography will follow the trend of the tobacco industry in public perception,” said Executive Director Dawn Hawkins in a statement. “Pornography today is pervasive and popular, similar to smoking in the 1950s, but as the harms become apparent, both the general public and elected officials will demand that a multi-disciplinary public health approach be implemented across the country to address it.”

However, sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, who authored the resolution, told NBC News earlier this year that he is not seeking to outlaw pornography in the state.

“I am not trying to ban pornography,” he stated. “What I am saying is we have taken steps to protect people from tobacco, but we haven’t done that for pornography.”

Weiler outlined that he would like online settings to be adjusted to make it harder for Internet users to access pornography, as he believes it should be allowed on an opt-in basis.

“If adults want to do that, that’s their choice,” he said. “But we’re talking about the developing adolescent minds of our nation’s future. We can and must do better as a nation.”

Hebert made similar statements on Tuesday, calling the viewing of pornography a constitutional right.

“We do not want to trample on people’s First Amendment rights,” he said. “We want them to have facts, data, good science, heightened awareness so that they make a correct decision in their own lives.”

Job 31:1 reads, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Psalm 101:2 also states, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. … I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”

Jesus additionally warned in Matthew 5:27-29, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into Hell.”


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