Republican delegates have unanimously voted to adopt an amendment to the party’s draft platform that fiercely condemns pornography as “a public health crisis”.
The Republican Party also denounced porn in its 2012 campaign platform, which vowed to uphold rigid observation of any and all laws restricting pornography and obscenity. But this year, the party has gone a step further by arguing that pornography is a “public menace.”
“Pornography, with his harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions,” the platform amendment read. “We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and well-being.”
Prior to the amendment, the GOP platform’s section on porn merely echoed the party’s 2012 sentiments – reinforcing the notions that internet porn must not become “a safe haven” for predators and that child pornographers must face “energetic prosecution”.
Yet according to North Carolina delegate Mary Forrester, that stance was insufficient in order to properly address the alleged ways in which pornography is affecting American society.
In an interview with Yahoo! News, Forrester said that she had worked with conservative Christian group Concerned Women for America in order to develop the amendment to combat porn addiction among underage youths.
“It’s such an insidious epidemic and there are no rules for our children,” Forrester said. “It seems to be for young people, they do not have the discernment and so they become addicted before they have the maturity to understand the consequences.”
Although Forrester’s tough talk on porn was approved unanimously by the Republican National Convention subcommittee on healthcare, education, and crime, it’s worth pointing out that the amendment may ultimately get tossed out of the final party platform.
A body composed of two delegates from all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C., will be tasked with voting on a draft platform Tuesday. Yet the socially radical amendment does follow at least one precedent.
In April, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a similar state resolution declaring pornography a public health hazard that is “harming the citizens of Utah and the nation”.
The resolution claimed that pornography is “linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity,” and urged education and policy changes to stop pornography exposure and addiction.
“Due to advances in technology and the universal availability of the Internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as hard core, but is now considered mainstream, pornography at an alarming rate,” the resolution read.
Lawmakers said the resolution was nonbinding, and merely symbolic in nature. But according to Governor Herbert, the move was designed to encourage individuals “to do the right thing” in terms of inhibiting pornography.
“We realize this is a bold assertion and there are some out there who will disagree with us,” Herbert told The Salt Lake Tribune. “We’re here to say it is, in fact, the full-fledged truth.”
It remains to be seen whether Herbert and Forrester’s feelings on pornography will ultimately be reflected upon in the final draft of this year’s GOP platform.
Yet Monday’s draft amendment on porn wasn’t the only controversial stance approved as part of Monday’s Republican subcommittee.
The group also voted in favor of endorsing so-called “gay conversion” therapies – arguing that it should fall upon parents to decide whether their LGBT children should undergo efforts to alter their sexual orientation.
These controversial methods have been widely condemned by mental health experts, and practitioners have been banned from offering alleged gay conversion therapies to minors in multiple states.
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