GOP lawmaker wants to throw adults in jail for sexting

Oklahoma state Sen. Dusty Deevers (R) Photo: YouTube screenshot

Christian nationalist Oklahoma state Sen. Dusty Deevers (R) has introduced a bill that would fine and imprison adults for consensually creating or sending sexual images or text messages.

Deevers included the provision in S.B. 1976, a bill banning child pornography. It prohibits unmarried individuals from producing or sending any “obscene” sexual content found “patently offensive” or lacking any “serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific purposes or value” by “applying contemporary community standards.”

The bill allows anyone to file a lawsuit against someone who “produces or distributes” such material. If the lawsuit succeeds in court, it’ll reward the plaintiff at least $10,000 “for each image or depiction produced or distributed within this state,” writer Hemant Mehta notes. Anyone convicted in court faces a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

“This bill is broad enough to include any person’s, like, butt selfie, for example, it includes live performances in play. So that would seem to include strip clubs definitely and maybe also burlesque and drag performances and things like that,” Elizabeth Nolan Brown, senior editor at Reason Magazine, told The Daily Beast.

The bill will likely face constitutional challenges, and even Deevers has admitted that the bill is unlikely to pass his state’s legislature. He said he would likely be “mocked and shamed” by his colleagues for even introducing the proposal and making them look “undignified.” However, he has added that the bill’s future is “up to the Lord to determine.”

The bill is also part of his and Christian Nationalists’ larger goal of outlawing pornography for all individuals — which is ironic considering that studies have found that “politically conservative states report the highest rates of pornography consumption.”

Deevers was elected in a December 2023 special election. In the run-up to the election, he pledged, “[I am] going to be applying the word of God to every issue that comes up…. We want to see morality brought back into government. I want to see pornography abolished. I want to see no-fault divorce, come back to at-fault in divorce—and even public shaming for those who are at fault in divorce. I want to see abortion abolished. These are the kinds of morality and government issues that we need to get back to.”

Deevers’s campaign website also clearly states his anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs.

“It is outrageous that drag queens are permitted to dance and twerk for children at pride parades and story hours in our state,” his website states. “It is outrageous that … public schools have exposed elementary and middle school children to pornographic materials and LGBTQ+ propaganda…. It is outrageous that Critical Race Theory and Queer Theory dominate in many of our public institutions. I promise to support legislation to put a stop to all of this.”

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