Federal judge strikes down Texas law that would have required age verification for porn sites

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A federal judge has struck down on constitutional grounds a Texas law that would have required users to submit age verification and view health warnings before they viewed pornographic websites.

According to The Associated Press, on Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Ezra agreed with critics who asserted House Bill 1181, signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June, violated Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Further, he blocked the state attorney general’s office from enforcing the measure, which he deemed “overbroad” and “vague.”

The state was sued over the law on August 4 by the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry, and on behalf of an unidentified adult entertainer whose content appeared on sites that would have been affected, including Pornhub.

Ezra took issue with the age verification, noting users had legitimate concerns their activity could be tracked, particularly when they wouldn’t be able to surf porn anonymously.

The law, which would have taken effect Friday, September 1, would have forced websites to include warnings linking watching pornography with prostitution and child abuse.

On that point, the judge said those claims “range from heavily contested to unsupported by the evidence.”

The Texas Attorney General’s Office filed an immediate appeal against the decision to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

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