Thursday, March 27, 2008

Star: Sexual Content Law A National Embarrassment

A Star editorial offers sharp criticism of a new state law which requires businesses offering "sexually explicit materials" for sale to register with the Secretary of State and pay a $250 registration fee. The editorial says, in part:

The intent was noble, or politically expedient, or perhaps a bit of both.

The effect has been legalization of censorship, headaches for legitimate businesses, the prospect of costly litigation and the sting of national embarrassment.

House Enrolled Act 1042, which takes effect July 1, has the fatal flaw common to government efforts to constrict the free expression guaranteed under the First Amendment. That is to say, it blasts away at noncombatants because there's no defining its enemy.

Promoted as a help to local governments that lack zoning laws to track undesirable businesses, the statute requires sellers of "sexually explicit" materials to register with the state and pay $250 for the confession. It applies only to businesses that open, relocate or begin offering the taboo materials after June 30.

The editorial offers some good examples of the absurd results which may be produced under this new law's broad definition of "sexually explicit materials." "Does James Joyce's "Ulysses" count? John Updike's "Rabbit" novels? The biblical accounts of David and Bathsheba, Samson and Delilah? The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? Manuals on personal health?"

4 comments:

Eclecticvibe said...

Dr. Terry Goodin, author of the bill, is from my home town and attended my high school. I believe he is still principal at Crothersville High School. In Scott County(And less Jackson County) it is as conservative as they come, however it's a Democrat stronghold in Indiana. Everyone runs as a Dem because Republican's don't get elected. On my last trip home, I noticed a large adult book store just north of Crothersville on the interstate. I'm sure there's local opposition to this facility, and that's where the bill springs from. It was bound to score big points at home. As I was growing up, there was always a drive in adult theater in Clarksville, Indiana with a book store alongside. I believe that there is also such a best in your home town, Gary.

I love the 1st Amendment said...

eclecticvibe
Are you saying that one or two establishments that are clearly marked as adult bookstores or theaters is sufficient reason to force every bookstore, art museaum, video rental store, and library to register and pay a fee because an anonymous someone thinks that a piece of material is too "sexual" for people?

Eclecticvibe said...

No, I oppose the law as well. I'm just trying to provide some background of where the bill probably originated. Dr. Goodin was surely trying to score some brownie points with local voters. I forgot to mention he was also the assistant principal at my high school and his father was and is to this day superintendent.

Old_Grouch said...

"...every bookstore, art museaum, video rental store, and library to register and pay a fee..."

Not to mention all the drug and grocery stores that sell Cosmopolitan.

Maybe THIS is how they intend to pay for reducing the property tax.