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Oklahoma considers banning consensual nudes before marriage

The law would make viewing ‘obscene material’ a felony crime

Michelle Del Rey
Thursday 01 February 2024 21:56 GMT
Pornography is too readily accessible to children online, Ofcom has warned (PA)
Pornography is too readily accessible to children online, Ofcom has warned (PA) (PA Wire)

An Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced legislation that would make it a crime to send nudes to your significant other unless you’re married.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1976 was prefiled by Republican State Senator Dusty Deevers of District 32 in advance of the state’s legislative session which starts on 5 Febuary 2024.

The bill largely targets child pornography but also takes aim at what the lawmaker calls “unlawful pornography”.

The term is defined as “any depiction of individual image stored or contained in any format on any medium including, but not limited to, film, motion picture, videotape, photograph, negative, undeveloped film, slide, photographic product, reproduction of a prographic product, play or performance” that pertains to several sexual acts outlined in the legislation.

However, the proposed bill does not “prevent spouses from sending images of sexual nature to each other.”

If passed, the law would be enforced similarly to Texas’ abortion bounty hunter bill. Any person who is not an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity may bring civil lawsuits against anyone who produces or engages in such content.

Plaintiffs could be awarded $10,000 for each image or depiction produced in addition to court costs and attorneys fees. Separately, anyone found to have even viewed such content could be found guilty of a felony crime, while participating in the images a misdemeanor.

It’s not the only piece of controversial legislation the lawmaker has introduced; he previously drafted a bill banning no-fault divorces that would have struck down reasons like abandonment, adultery, extreme cruelty and fraudulent contract as reasons to end a partnership.

Pornography is typically protected under the 1st Amendment along with other forms of expression such as speech, the press, assembly and the right to petition the government. There are some notable exceptions to this however, like child pornography.

Similar bills have been introduced in Louisiana, California and North Carolina as pornography has become a hot-button issue for Republicans. In 2016, the Republican Party declared pornography a “public health crisis”.

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