After signing it, Gov. Gary Herbert holds up a copy of the bill to a cheering crowd at the Capitol, in Salt Lake City. The bill makes possessing pornography a crime punishable by fines and jail time. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution declaring pornography “illegal” and a “public health crisis” at the Utah State Capitol today.
“This is a historic day for the good, clean-living, people who call the state of Utah home,” Herbert told reporters. “This new law will protect our children and make our state pure from the heathens who go against God’s will.”
The anti-porn resolution was introduced by Republican state Senator Todd Weiler in January 2015, to battle the “pornography epidemic harming” the state and the country.
The resolution calls for increased “education, prevention, research, law enforcement and policy change at the community and societal level”. Under the new law, those living in Utah who possess pornography of any kind, that being a magazine or viewing pornographic material online, will face harsh fines and even jail time for repeat offenders.
“I want to assure the good citizens of Utah that the brave men and women of law enforcement will be out in full force, tracking down porn offenders, and bringing them to justice,” Sheriff Jim Tracy of Utah County said. “I can promise you this, those who we find breaking any porn laws will be seeing jail bars. This new law is about protecting our children and that is exactly what we plan to do.”
Anti-pornography group, the Utah Coalition Against Pornography posted on Facebook that the resolution signing marks a “time to celebrate and recognize this historic moment.”
Weiler says the resolution is the first step toward creating a plan to protect children and families from the “evils” that are out there.
“Due to advances in technology and the universal availability of the Internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as hard core, but is now considered mainstream, pornography at an alarming rate,” according to the bill.
Weiler, who hopes similar legislation will soon be passed in other states, believes that pornography is addictive in nature and aiding in the breakdown of marriage and healthy relationships.
“If you start with meth or heroin, everyone knows that’s addictive,” Weiler told The Atlantic. “A lot of people will get kind of lured into pornography, and they don’t know it may actually consume their life.”
Sarah Bradley, a spokeswoman for Sock It Forward, a group that provides the homeless and those less fortunate with brand new socks, told ABC News that she does not agree with the new law.
“This ridiculous law is going to imprison a lot of people in the state,” Bradley said. “The fact is, people in Utah are some of the biggest users of online pornography in the country according to PornHub.com. Real nice, Mormons; make sure to keep your hands above the covers when you sleep but not before clearing your browser history first.” Bradley continued, “Also, thank you to everyone that has supported our cause in giving new socks to the homeless, it means so much. Please, give what you can.”
Paul Horner, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office, spoke to reporters about the fines and possible jail time involved with the new law.
“First time offenders will see fines of $100-$500, depending on the quantity of pornography or the amount of digital graphic content seized on the criminal’s computer. Repeat offenders can expect 30 days in jail or worse, depending on what type of pornography is found in the individual’s possession. Missionary style pornography will result in a fine or up to 30 days in jail, while pornography that involves any kind of homogayness, that being sodomy or Devil worshipping, will result in long-term prison sentences. Law enforcement will also be working closely with local ISPs and the NSA to monitor those who search out porn on the internet. We will win the war on porn and masturbation.”
Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin, a mascot for a Christian organization that travels around the country educating children about the dangers and consequences of masturbation, told ABC News he believes in what Utah is doing.
“I think it is great what the state of Utah has done today in fighting the war on self-rape in this country. The rest of America needs to get with the times, vote for Ted Cruz, and make masturbation illegal once and for all. It is important to remember that our Lord loves each and every one of us, unless we masturbate, then we’ll burn in Hell for eternity.”
The Governor’s Office, working together with local law enforcement, has setup a 24-hour ‘Anti-Porn Hotline’ to report individuals suspected of possessing pornography. You can remain anonymous.
St. George, Utah – SGPD Pornography Taskforce – Sergeant Rob
This article was written for www.abcnews.com.co.