A resolution that declares pornography as being a public health crisis passed the Tennessee Senate unanimously on Monday and now moves to the desk of Gov. Bill Haslam for signing.
The resolution had been presented by Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, at the urging of Ricky Darr of Make America Porn Free, which works in conjunction with the organization Girls Against Porn and Human Trafficking to urge enforcement of obscenity laws and “to remove the easy accessibility of pornography from the reach of children.”
“My six-year-old came across pornography last year,” Darr told the Senate Health Committee last week, where the resolution likewise was approved without objection. “My son came up to me and said, ‘Dad I’ve seen a whole lot of illegals.’ He calls them illegals, and I knew what he was talking about.”
Beavers said that she too is concerned about inappropriate images being viewed by children.
“I’m concerned for my grandchildren,” she stated. “Twenty-seven percent of children are being exposed to pornography before they even reach puberty.”
In addition to lamenting that children are coming across pornography at younger ages, the resolution notes that pornography treats women and children alike as sexual objects and minimizes the evils of rape.
“Moreover, pornography equates violence towards women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, and child sexual abuse images/child pornography,” it explains.
The resolution also outlines that pornography is addictive and often responsible for the breakdown of the family.
“[R]ecent research indicates that pornography is potentially biologically addictive, which means the user requires more novelty, which is often more shocking material, in order to be satisfied,” it states. “This has led to increasing themes of risky sexual behaviors, extreme degradation, violence and child sexual abuse images/child pornography.”
“[P]ornography use has a detrimental effect on the family as it is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage and infidelity,” the measure cites.
The resolution therefore declares that pornography is a public health hazard and crisis with inherent harms against both the viewer and society. It calls for education, research, policy changes and the enactment of preventative measures “to address the epidemic that is harming the people of our state and our country as a whole.”
The Tennessee Pastor’s Network was among the supporters of the measure.
Similar resolutions have been presented this year in Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.