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First Amendment Protects Speech, not Porn

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The city of Dallas is in the midst of a shootout between those who think the city should host a porn convention and those who think it shouldn’t. The Constitution is on the side of those who think it shouldn’t.

Something called the Exxxotica Expo was scheduled to come to the city-owned convention center in May, but the city council recently banned it on an 8-7 vote. The vote came after 19 community leaders spoke against the convention in the council’s chambers while just one, the would-be producer of the event, spoke in favor. So the council members clearly acted justly in their role as the elected representatives of the people.

The mayor of Dallas himself requested the resolution barring the expo, in part because it involves a place called “The Dungeon” where women are tied up and whipped.

The last time the event was in Dallas, the event’s sponsors included online “escort” services (read “prostitution”), which are directly connected to sex trafficking.

One city council member who voted for the expo said that rather than fight this event, the city should use the money to help victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. That’s like saying let’s not lift a finger to stop arsonists, let’s just hire more firefighters. This councilman’s approach to public policy apparently is to sit back and watch while miscreants morally trash his city, and then throw money at the problem rather than fix it.

The pro-porn advocates have already threatened a First Amendment lawsuit against the city, claiming they “absolutely have the right” to produce the event, and that the city’s decision “obviously violates the law.”

These pro-porn advocates are wrong. The Constitution as given to us by the Founders, not the one mangled by activist courts, provides no protection whatsoever for pornography. What the First Amendment of the Founders’ Constitution protects is freedom of speech. It does not protect the right to take off your clothes and have sex in front of a camera.

Speech is speech. It refers to words that come out of your mouth. Speech is speech, not behavior. It does not refer to or include sexual activity. When the Court mystically and magically and utterly without warrant changed the definition of “speech” to “expression,” it wrongly allowed all kinds of reprehensible human behaviors to fly under the banner of supposed constitutional protection.

Joseph Story, who wrote the magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution in 1833, the definitive history of the Founders’ Constitution, said this about the First Amendment and its speech and press planks (emphasis mine):

“It is plum, then, that the language of this amendment imports no more, than that every man shall have a right to speak, write, and print his opinions upon any subject whatsoever, without any prior restraint, so always, that he does not injure any other person in his rights, person, property, or reputation; and so always, that he does not thereby disturb the public peace, or attempt to subvert the government.”

Not only does the Founders’ Constitution provide no aid and comfort to producers of porn, porn is flatly illegal in the state of Texas:

“Sec. 43.22.  OBSCENE DISPLAY OR DISTRIBUTION.  (a)  A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly displays or distributes an obscene photograph, drawing, or similar visual representation or other obscene material…”

In other words, the expo would nothing more than a three-day crime wave. The city fathers have done the right thing here, based on public morality, the Constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of Texas. May their tribe increase.



 

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