By Peyton Majors
Christian Action League
April 28, 2023
A bill that would strengthen the punishment for citizens who distribute obscene content to children passed a North Carolina Senate committee this week over objections from the LGBT community.
The bill, SB 579, passed the Senate Rules Committee by voice vote. The bill makes it a Class H felony to disseminate obscenity in the presence of an individual under the age of 18. Under current law, it’s a Class I felony.
Rep. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir), told members the bill “should not be controversial.”
“We get pulled and torn by so many things on a national level. Folks, we need to protect our children. This is very reasonable. This doesn’t target anything but the protection of children,” Perry said.
Sen. Buck Newton (R-Wilson), the bill’s sponsor, urged members to support the bill.
“I don’t know why there would be controversy about it, but apparently some don’t like it,” Newton said.
The bill, he said, targets “those who convey obscenity to children, to minors.”
“That could be performance, that could be materials,” said Newton. “… This is one of the simple steps we can take to show as a society that we are not going to tolerate the corruption of our children.”
The bill, he said, does not change the definition of obscenity.
“We have a problem in our society with obscenity and pornography and lewd behavior in front of minors,” Newton declared.
Two self-identified drag queens opposed the bill during testimony, one said its goal was to “eradicate the trans community, the queer community and the black community as well.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, spoke out in support of the measure, encouraging committee members to back it.
“Numerous studies demonstrate that exposure to obscenity can cause psychological harm to children including anxiety, fear and trauma,” Creech said. “Because they can become confused by the explicit content, it can lead to long-term psychological effects. Exposure can also lead to behavioral changes, making them more aggressive, engaging in risky behaviors or showing signs of depression and anxiety. Children who are exposed to obscenity may also engage in risky sexual behaviors, which can lead to actual physical harm including sexually transmitted infections. unintended pregnancies and sexual violence.
“When exposed to obscenity, some children have been shown to have difficulty concentrating in school, or have become uninterested in learning, which can negatively impact their education and future opportunities,” Creech added.
The “increased sexualization of minors,” he said, is a “real problem” in society.
“It’s up to parents, caregivers and educators to work together to create a safe and supportive environment for children that promotes healthy growth and learning,” Creech said. “But because the law is a great teacher and bears the standard directing us to the ultimate end just described, we commend this legislation to you.”