Republicans are said to be the party of deregulation, but their platform this year aims to seriously regulate the pornography industry through strict enforcement of laws against porn or other materials deemed “obscene.”
In a copy of the GOP platform expected to be approved this week, one line reads, “Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced,” indicating that Republicans could be on track to try to cut down on Americans’ access to pornography writ large, as opposed to specifically targeting child pornography, which past Republican platforms have done.
This opposition to pornography is consistent with anti-porn pledges signed by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, one of which included the virtually identical language calling for “strict enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws.” Yet the GOP’s anti-porn platform is far from consistent with its persistent rhetoric about keeping regulation out of the way of job-creating industries:
Though previous Republican platforms have called for increased prosecution of child pornography, this appears to be the first time that the party has called for a crackdown on sexually explicit material involving adults – a multi-billion-dollar industry [...]
The Internet research firm TopTenReviews estimated that adult pornography revenues through magazines, the Internet and video sales and rentals totaled $9.4 billion in 2006.
A widespread crackdown on porn would also be inconsistent with the Constitution. As the Supreme Court explained in Miller v. California, the First Amendment protects pornography unless the material “portray[s] sexual conduct in a patently offensive way” and does not have any “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
Romney apparent opposition to pornography has not prevented him from taking big dollar donations from porn industry moguls. Nor will it help him with his base: Men. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, men make up 75 percent of porn site visitors, and they seem to care more about porn than they do about politics: One single porn site received “4.4 billion page views per month. That’s about 10 times as many as the New York Times and three times as many as CNN.com.”