The Utah lawmaker who introduced a state resolution declaring pornography a “public health crisis” has taken his opposition a step further. During a conservative talk radio appearance on Friday, state Rep. Todd Weiler (R) said that the internet, essentially, violates a person’s First Amendment rights by “delivering pornography” to people who don’t want to view it.
“Someone may have the First Amendment right, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, to view pornography,” Weiler told Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch” radio show. “But what about my First Amendment right not to view it?”
This interview comes days after Gov. Gary Herbet (R) signed Weiler’s bill into law.
At first, Weiler specifically blamed McDonald’s for having free WiFi that did not block porn sites. According to Weiler, kids often go to McDonald’s or public libraries to watch porn on their WiFi networks — especially if it’s blocked on their home internet.
“If these libraries and McDonald’s were delivering cigarettes to our children, we’d be picketing them,” he said.
Weiler’s understanding of the First Amendment is deeply flawed, however. The amendment specifically bans laws that prohibit a person’s ability to exercise free speech. It does not, however, ban a person from NOT viewing another’s act of free speech. That’s like saying the amendment protects a pro-choice advocate’s right to never encounter anti-abortion protesters.
Instead, Weiler’s argument rests on his inability to control how others browse the internet. But exerting control over another person’s behavior in that way isn’t a constitutional right — far from it.
Weiler said he’s working with U.S. Senator Orin Hatch (R) to create a way for internet users to “opt-in” to online porn, rather than using parental filters to opt-out of porn sites.
Sen. Todd Weiler (R), ThinkProgress 38 Comments
[4/27/2016 3:08:35 AM]
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