Jacksonville State Rep. Co-Sponsoring Anti-Pornography Bill

Dec 19, 2017
Originally published on December 18, 2017 12:15 pm

Updated Monday 12/18/17 at 11 a.m.

State Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, is co-sponsoring a bill recognizing pornography as the cause of a public health crisis. The bill’s primary sponsor is Ross Spano, R-Dover.

The bill is a resolution. Although it doesn't change any laws, it does say the state “acknowledges the need for education, prevention, research and policy change” to protect Floridians from the public health crisis created by porn.

Other states including Utah and Tennessee have passed similar resolutions. Yarborough said co-sponsoring Florida’s version was an easy decision.

“It’s just like drugs and like alcohol,” Yarborough said of pornography. “It’s very addictive and has a very long-term negative effect on the mind and the body and on relationships so to me it just seemed like a no brainer to put my name on it to be in support of the state doing what it can to educate.”

Yarborough added porn objectives women. The bill lists out two pages of reasons porn is contributing to the deemed crisis, saying it hypersexualizes children and teens and normalizes violence against women and children.

“And [pornography] depicts rape and abuse as harmless, thereby increasing the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, and child pornography,” the resolution reads in part.

It also says with the widespread availability of the Internet, children are watching porn, putting them at higher risk of developing low self-esteem, eating disorders and a desire to engage in sexual behavior.

The bill states pornography is detrimental to families, marriages and the user.

“Including, but not limited to, mental and physical illnesses; difficulty forming or maintaining intimate relationships; unhealthy brain development and cognitive function; deviant, problematic, or dangerous sexual behaviors and addiction,” the bill says of potential effects of the user.

There’s a similar companion bill in the senate.

Yarborough, the Jacksonville co-sponsor, made headlines three years ago while president of Jacksonville City Council by referring to a nude photo of a pregnant woman in downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art as pornographic. He was unhappy it could be spotted from the downstairs lobby and he saw it going to lunch at the connected cafe.

Story updated with quotes from Yarborough.

Photo used under Creative Commons.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

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