- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Utah on Tuesday became the first state in the country to adopt a resolution declaring pornography to be a “public health hazard,” but one of the industry’s biggest names is hardly about to help lawmakers tackle the X-rated problem. Publishing tycoon Larry Flynt on Tuesday said he’s sending a free copy of a Hustler issue to every member of the Utah Legislature.

Hours after Republican Gov. Gary Herbert added his signature to S.C.R. 9 on Tuesday and officially accused pornography of causing a “public health crisis,” the founder and chairman of Hustler Magazine announced that lawmakers in the predominately Mormon state can expect to soon find a copy of his publication’s annual anniversary issue in the mail.

“[T]he Utah Legislature is obviously confused about what constitutes a public health crisis, so I’ll send them our latest issue and they can see for themselves that we’re no danger to the public, only to the repressed,” Mr. Flynt said in a statement.

“In 1969 President Lyndon Johnson and the President’s Commission on Obscenity and Pornography found that no evidence exists that exposure to explicit sexual materials cause any kind of criminal behavior,” the 73-year-old self-declared smut peddler said. “This report has been gathering dust for over 40 years, and Utah is only dragging out this issue now to satisfy religious zealots.”

While the resolution signed by Mr. Herbert this week doesn’t institute any new bans or prohibitions against pornography in the Beehive State, lawmakers said during a ceremony on Tuesday that they hope legislatures elsewhere will use Utah as an example to pass measures of their own acknowledging the dangers of pornography.

“People generally know about the dangers of drugs and alcohol that can be found out there … but we also want our young people to know that there is a particular psychological and physiological detriment that comes from addiction to pornography, too,” the governor said.

“This is a fight I believe we can win. It’s certainly a fight we ought to have,” Mr. Herbert added. “The intent here is to raise understanding of addictive nature of pornography.”

The resolution’s co-author, Republican State Sen.Todd Weiler, called on legislators in other states during Tuesday’s signing ceremony to draft similar measures of their own based off of S.C.R. 9, and said lawmakers “need to bring this fight to Washington.”

On Capitol Hill, however, congressmen are already quite familiar with Mr. Flynt’s method of responding — every member of the U.S. Senate and House has received a free subscription to Hustler Magazine since 1983, and a federal judge has since ruled that Mr. Flynt can’t legally be prevented from stuffing their mailboxes with porn.

“An order prohibiting even just the mailing of Hustler to Congress would deny our ‘profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,’ ” the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in a 1986 ruling.

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