Utah declares pornography a public health crisis

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A resolution declaring pornography a national health crises received unanimous support in both chambers of Utah’s Legislature, despite jabs at the measure by national and international media and comedians.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, sponsored SCR9, which declares pornography as a public health crisis and could open the door push for more funding for pornography addict recovery.  The resolution, which does not have the force of law or appropriates money, does identify it as a public health crisis fueled by content on the Internet.

Part of the resolution includes the biological addiction of pornography, risky sexual behavior, less desire for young men to marry, marriage infidelity and other related problems as reasons to address it as a health concern.

Weiler’s resolution quickly sparked worldwide controversy and made Weiler and lawmakers the butt of late-night comedian jokes and news stories.

The State Capitol is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Police are warning people in the city about a scammer claiming to collect fees from people for missing jury duty.
The Utah State Capitol prepares to wrap up the 2016 legislative session. Lawmakers passed a bill declaring pornography a public health crisis. (Associated Press)

National news outlets, including NBC news online and New York Daily News, reported on the story. Even talk shows such as “The View” broadcasted segments talking about “Utah’s conservative lawmaker,” giving their opinions on pornography in today’s society.

SCR9 defines pornography as a sexually toxic environment and says it is contributing to the hypersexualization of teens. Because of the rise of Internet use, it has become easier for teenagers to access pornography. This is why Weiler feels this issue is so important.

Although there is research to back-up Weiler’s resolution, there was controversial statements, particularly outside the state. Many questioned how pornography can be defined and what limits specifically made something “pornography.” Weiler was mocked at some levels as well as being called an “ultra conservative” and a “crazy Mormon lawmaker.”

In response Weiler said, “At least people are starting to talk about it.”

The resolution was unanimously passed through a legislative hearing on Feb. 5 and then passed both the Senate and House.

Jenny Brown, a member of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, board spoke out about the importance of this resolution to the Deseret News.

“We are going to give the pornography industry a run for their money, even if it takes several years to keeping working on it,” she said. “We are not going to be afraid to look at the pornography industry right in the eye. It’s not going to keep just doing what it wants and think there’s not going to be pushback.”

SCR9 passed through the House and the Senate early morning on the last day of the Legislature, March 10.

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