Florida’s House of Representatives voted by voice on Tuesday to pass a resolution declaring pornography a health risk—a laughable move from a state government that can’t seem to get rid of assault weapons, no matter how hard they (don’t) try.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the resolution was sponsored by Rep. Ross Spano, who is also running for attorney general. In the resolution, Spano said that the research exists to prove a connection between watching porn and mental and physical illnesses as well as “forming and maintaining intimate relationships and deviant sexual behavior.” The resolution calls for education and policy changes to protect Florida’s teens from the scourge of pornography.
Naturally, many House Democrats have called this bill a patent waste of time; the presence of pornography is hardly a public health crisis, but assault weapons like the one used on February 14 in a shooting in Parkland that left 17 dead certainly are. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith took Spano to task for introducing such a ridiculous distraction, inquiring if porn had ever killed or physically injured anyone, or if it was so traumatic that first responders found it necessary to seek counseling.
That same day, Smith was pushing a bill banning assault weapons of the like that were used in the Parkland shooting, and it has been stuck in Florida’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee for some time. The House chose not to pass the assault weapons bill and opted to push this highly unnecessary measure through instead.
And the pornography tactic being used by Florida is not new. Utah has attempted this measure in the past, reframing pornography as a public health crisis instead of a moral one. Pornography addiction, a term thrown around by legislators looking to shift the conversation away from more pertinent matters (gun control), is not recognized by the DSM.
“I don’t understand the politics, to be honest, if I’m being honest,” Smith said to paper. “I’m not aware there’s a base of voters who are losing sleep every night over the epidemic of pornography as a public health crisis.”