North Dakota Legislators Consider Bill To Ban ‘Sexually Explicit’ Material From Public Libraries
On Tuesday, legislators in North Dakota began considering a bill that would ban “sexually explicit” material from public libraries in the state—and levy up to 30 days of imprisonment for those who refuse to comply with the law. The bill has already drawn the ire of civil liberties groups, who point out its blatantly unconstitutional provisions. If passed, the bill would ban broad swaths of literature—though almost none of it could be considered legally obscene.
“Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court set the high constitutional bar that defines obscenity—a narrow, well-defined category of unprotected speech that excludes any work with serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value,” reads a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Dakota. “Since then, few if any books have been deemed obscene.”
The bill was introduced last week by House Majority Leader Mike Lefor (R–Dickinson.) If passed, the bill would ban any “business establishment frequented by minors, or where minors are or may be invited as a part of the general public,” including public walkways, from displaying any visual material “which exploits, is devoted to, or is principally made up of depictions of nude or partially denuded human figures posed or presented in a manner to exploit sex, lust, or perversion for commercial gain.” Further, the bill provides a list of acts and ideas that it considers “sexually explicit”—a list which includes “sexual identity,” “gender identity,” and perhaps most confusingly, “sex-based classifications.”
It provides exceptions for “works of art that, when taken as a whole, have serious artistic significance, or works of anthropological significance, or materials used in science courses, including materials used in biology, anatomy, physiology, or sexual education classes.” Further, in an unusual departure from similar book-banning pu
Article from Reason.com