Utah lawmakers declared a public health crisis in a ceremonial bill April because they think residents are viewing too much pornography. But now, Todd Weiler, the same lawmaker who proposed the “health crisis” bill, announced legislation that would put statewide filters in place to ensure no Utah residents could view pornography.
Internet users would be required to contact their internet service provider to opt-out of the filter so they can view adult content, the Independent reports.
The Utah legislature is already out of session, but Weiler wants to get a start on next year’s slate of internet censorship laws so he is beginning this campaign as soon as possible. He claims he got the idea from the UK’s Coalition Government announcement in 2013 that made internet users opt-out of internet censorship, including porn filtering.
In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, he said: “I believe that pornography today is like tobacco was 70 years ago. 70 years ago people said tobacco’s not addictive and it’s not harmful, and that’s what some people are saying about pornography today. I happen to believe that it is addictive and it is harmful.”
Weiler believes pornography is a threat to traditional marriage. “It’s undermining relationships, and ultimately if someone gets divorced, that affects the government, because we end up with more children and spouses on government welfare.”
In the past five years, soft porn has been mostly replaced with extreme, degrading and dehumanizing images. #UCAP
— Todd Weiler (@gopTODD) March 12, 2016
As any kid who grew up with internet filters knows, it’s relatively simple to circumvent restrictions, but the law concerns some First Amendment activists who are fearful it restricts free speech. However, Weiler claimed that the First Amendment also protected him from being forced to view ‘second-hand’ porn at McDonalds.
The majority of the state consists of members of the Church of Latterday Saints or Mormons, which has a track record of manipulating members into believing they are addicted to pornography when they aren’t. The church has a ban on the use of pornography, but has had no luck in shaming people away from viewing it. Utah residents are 50 percent more likely than other states to search for Mormon pornography on PornHub. Studies show that those who view pornography more than once a week have a tendency to be more religious.