Anti-Porn Groups Ask Romney to Enforce Obscenity Laws

Mar 23, 2012 7:00 AM PST

WASHINGTON —  A coalition of anti-porn groups has sent a letter to Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney asking for a meeting to discuss the enforcement of federal obscenity laws.

Spearheaded by Morality in Media President Patrick A. Trueman, the letter, posted on The War On Illegal Pornography's website, claims the U.S. Department of Justice has stopped all enforcement of laws prohibiting the distribution of hardcore porn through nearly every means of distribution.

Dated March 20, the group’s request to Romney cites how “illegal adult obscenity” contributes to a host of societal evils and calls porn a “pandemic,” parroting the rants from former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s statement on his campaign website last week that caused a firestorm of controversy for the White House hopeful.

“We believe that the next president (sic) needs to understand that a wealth of research now exists that provides overwhelmingly evidence of the great harms cause by pornography. We deserve to have the nation’s obscenity laws enforced. There is widespread public support for enforcement of these laws, which were passed overwhelmingly by the United States Congress,” the letter states.

But industry attorney J.D. Obenberger told XBIZ that the move is just disguising the real message of complete censorship.

“What he [Trueman] really means is miles away from enforcement of the existing obscenity laws and he knows it," Obenberger said.

“The values and standards of the community are at the heart of the Miller Test that defines how far the government can go, under the Constitution, in punishing porn. Those values and standards do not descend to the community from the pronouncements of government leaders or fringe moralizing groups, nor can they be imposed on the people, the community of Internet users, from above," he added.

The attorney noted that community values and standards that are woven into two of the three elements of the Miller Test come down to a community’s attitude as to what erotic materials should not be permitted to be bought, sold, or obtained — which is almost always for private use.

For the censors to prevail, Obenberger said, they must overcome all of the tolerance and acceptance that is ingrained into our culture.

“Under the existing obscenity laws, 12 jurors could not agree to convict Ira Isaacs in L.A. two weeks ago for material all wrapped up in the theme of human feces as a food item. Under the exiting obscenity laws, not only did a jury in rural Arkansas acquit material featuring double penetration, multiple pop facials, and themes that played around with force and compulsion, not only did that jury do so in four hours, but several jurors broke into applause when the prosecutor finished playing the material in open court.

"Under the existing obscenity laws, the ‘Task Force That Couldn't Shoot Straight’ over at DOJ couldn't manage to get the case against John Stagliano into the hands of the jury because the case was so bungled up. After that fiasco, it was no surprise that DOJ pulled the plug. The existing obscenity laws and the cases which keep them on a leash because of Constitutional protections are quite protective of liberty because they are tied to the values of a free people highly tolerant of the quirks and eccentricities of their neighbors; that acceptance is the price of our own liberty, and we all know it,” he continued.

Obenberger stressed that obscenity laws are not decided by government, but by what the people accept.

He noted that 40 milllion Americans went to porn sites last year, many paid money for the privilege, and that porn is ingrained into every aspect of American culture.

“Hardcore porn is now as American as cherry pie. The moralizers know that. They hate it. They are not really about the existing obscenity laws; they don't like them and would like to change them if the could (which they can't do because of the First Amendment),” Obenberger said.

He further stated that the “moralizers” want to impose their narrow views "on all of us" and the more any candidate preaches about "enforcing" obscenity laws in this election, the more the candidate will alienate normal Americans and the more likely it becomes that the candidate will lose.

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