A trade group for the adult entertainment industry filed a lawsuit against Utah on Wednesday for its new law requiring pornography websites to verify the age of visitors.
The law, which took effect Wednesday, was signed by Republican Gov. Spencer Cox in March. The Free Speech Coalition filed the lawsuit on behalf of itself and other plaintiffs in the industry, arguing that it places a “content-based restriction on protected speech” that violates the First Amendment.
“The Utah law restricts adults’ access to legal speech and violates decades of Supreme Court precedent,” said Alison Boden, Executive Director of Free Speech Coalition, in a statement. “We are fighting not only for the rights of our members and the larger adult entertainment community, but for the right of all Americans to access constitutionally-protected expression in the privacy of their own home.”
The Free Speech Coalition also alleges the solution put forward by the law is not workable.
“Adult websites don’t want children accessing their content any more than the State of Utah does,” Boden continued. “But the solutions put forward in SB287 put an unreasonable burden on free expression that we believe are meant to have a chilling effect for all Utahns.”
Pornhub Blocked the State of Utah From Its Site
A Thread: 🧵
— FTND (@FightTheNewDrug) May 2, 2023
Pornhub blocked access to its website in Utah on Monday in protest of the law, adding a message that the company “made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah.” (RELATED: PornHub Blocks Utah Residents From Site In Protest Of Law Requiring Age Verification)
A Louisiana law requring age verification for pornograpy websites took effect on January 1. Similar laws have been enacted in the Arkansas and Mississippi, along with one that was passed by the Virginia state legislature.
Pornhub threatened to also block access to its website in Virginia if Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin signs the bill into law, according to Axios.
Republican Utah state Sen. Todd D. Weiler, who sponsored the bill, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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