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  (Source: TruTV)
The web says GTFO!

"The internet is for porn!" you say?

Well apparently the Republican Party's national leadership didn't get the memo.  

I. Gotta Ban 'em All

As part of its national platform, the Republican party is pushing for strict enforcement of existing anti-obscenity laws, which would effectively prohibit many kinds of pornography.

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Cliff's Notes Explanation: 
U.S. federal laws banning most types of porn already exist, but are not enforced.  The Republican National Party is not calling for new laws on pornography.  They are calling for existing laws to be strictly and vigorously enforced.  The position is non-binding, though those who defy it may lose funding for their candidacy.

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The new stand is rather unique in that it represents the first major effort in a long time to crack down on pornographic recordings of consenting adults.  Most efforts in recent decades have focused on cracking down on child pornography, due to its non-consensual nature and vast prevailing public opposition.

So what exactly is this proposed "porn ban"?

Porn hurts
Republicans hope to ban pornography to preserve "Christian values".
[Image Source: Kelly Manning Photography]

The Republican Party's new platform, which will be set to a vote on Tuesday states:

Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.

Federal politicians are by no means legally obligated to follow their party's national platform, but if they defy it they risk losing funding support from the "party bosses".

II. What Kinds of Porn Would be Banned?

The next natural question is what are "obscenity laws"?  

Obscenity laws, which generally are not currently enforced, include state and federal laws (see 18 U.S.C. 1461-68, 47 U.S.C. 223).  The laws prohibit sending obscene communications, selling and buying of obscene material, and accessing obscene material on the internet.

So what is obscene?

The case that legal experts say defines that is Miller v. California, a 1973 case involving Marv Miller, head of the West Coast's largest mail-order pornography business at the time.  In its ruling, the Supreme Court defined the criteria for obscenity as:

2. The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Roth, supra, at 354 U. S. 489, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. If a state obscenity law is thus limited, First Amendment values are adequately protected by ultimate independent appellate review of constitutional claims when necessary. Pp. 413 U. S. 24-25.

Common sexual acts that would likely be deemed "obscene" under those guidelines are hardcore heterosexual sex, depictions of group sex, homosexual sex, fetish sex acts, and bondage.  Some forms of softcore or short-length sex are widely considered to be acceptable under the laws.

Fifty Shades of GrayBackdoor
The porn ban would include outlawing depictions of bondage and anal sex.
[Image Source: Google Images]

“Distribution of obscene or hardcore pornography on the Internet is a violation of current federal law,” says Patrick Trueman, president of Morality In Media, in a statement. "We are most grateful to Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who led the effort to get the tough new language into the platform. Without enforcement of federal obscenity laws, pornographers have had a green light to target our children and families."

By banning those multitude of sexual material, the Republican party would choke off a major chunk of internet pornography, which a recent study estimates makes up over 30 percent of the total internet data traffic.

For the record, British conservative leaders floated a similar anti-porn proposal, but it proved flaccid.  In the unlikelihood of a true U.S. ban on porn, it would join only a handful of nations, such as Iran, that have outlawed porn for religious reasons.

Sources: Reuters, Miller v. California





"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis







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