Pushing Out Porn

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

Harrisonburg's city attorney Tom Miller says he doesn't think an anti-porn campaign will go very far. Thursday we talked to the National Director of the Free Speech Coalition which defends adult entertainment industries. He says First Amendment lawyers would take on city council if it attempts to push out porn, but another group says those are empty threats.

Taking on sexually oriented businesses is their specialty. Attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund, headquartered in Louisiana, fight for family values and community standards all across the country.

Now, the group is providing legal counsel for the Valley Family Forum to help push porn out of Harrisonburg.

ADF's Mike Johnson says, "Can you ban all porn? Maybe not, but there are considerable things you can do."

Things like zoning restrictions, business licensing enforcements and defining standards of community decency. First Amendment lawyers who defend the adult entertainment industry say those efforts are unconstitutional.

Harrisonburg Councilman Hugh Lantz says businesses must be treated equally and certain stores and products can't be eliminated just because some might not like them.

Lantz also says he'd support an anti-porn push as long as it's legal.

"I can't think of any real value porn brings to the city, but I can name a lot of negatives it would bring," he says.

Negatives like reduced property values, increased crime and ruined marriages.

The Alliance Defense Fund says it's got plenty of proof to restrict porn businesses if not push them out.

"There's no question Harrisonburg can do this. It's just a question of how far it wants to go," says Johnson.

The Valley Family Forum is trying to gain support for the ban, but Lantz says he doesn't expect it to come up at the next council meeting - unless the community complains.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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