NO ON CENSORSHIP. NO ON MEASURE 19. Oregon's Constitution Guarantees Greater Freedom Orego

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

NO ON CENSORSHIP. NO ON MEASURE 19. Oregon's Constitution Guarantees Greater Freedom Oregon's Constitution has prevented government interference in personal expression since 1859. Article 1, Section 8 of the Oregon Bill of Rights currently reads: "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever, but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right." What Does Measure 19 Do? It would revise the Oregon Constitution's free expression protection to allow for the creation of an unlimited number of different local censorship laws. With 240 cities and 36 counties, Oregonians could have to deal with 276 different sets of laws restricting freedom of speech. Here is the actual text of Measure 19: "Article 1, Section 8 of this Constitution shall not be interpreted to prevent the people, the Legislative Assembly, or any City or County from enacting laws regulating or prohibiting obscenity, to the extent permitted by the United States Constitution. For purposes of this section, the term "obscenity" shall have the meaning given it by the United States Supreme Court, and in addition shall also include child pornography." Won't Measure 19 Just Protect Citizens and Minors From Stuff We Shouldn't See or Hear Anyway? No. Today, we can decide for ourselves what we and our families should read see and hear. If Measure 19 is approved, those decisions will be made by government officials. Measure 19 allows books, music, art, magazines, pictures, videos, personal diaries and other expression to be banned. Here are examples of works censored elsewhere which Oregon's current Constitution would protect: BOOKS: The Diary of Anne Frank; Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret; The Color Purple; the children's books In The Night Kitchen and Where's Waldo MOVIES: Howard's End, Cape Fear, Pretty Woman, Gone With The Wind MUSIC: Frankie & Johnny, She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain How Will "Obscenity" Be Defined? Measure 19 doesn't tell us what the definition is. The U.S. Constitution doesn't tell us, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions don't define obscenity. Supporters of Measure 19 will tell you it is not their intent to ban the titles above, but with no clear limit on their definition of obscenity, cities and counties would have extremely broad power to decide what you could read, see and hear. Doesn't Oregon Already Have Child Pornography Laws? Yes. Oregon has some of the toughest prohibitions on child pornography in the country. Anyone using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, visually recording sexual conduct by children, possessing these kinds of depictions, duplicating or distributing them, or transporting child pornography into the state can be charged with a felony. Measure 19 does nothing to change these laws. These laws have already withstood three separate constitutional challenges in the Oregon Court of Appeals. Prosecutors are using the current laws to gain child pornography convictions. What Can Be Done To Regulate Adult Businesses Without Changing The State Bill Of Rights? Local governments can regulate the nuisance aspects of adult businesses under our current constitution. What government can't do is prohibit a particular kind of business because of the content of the expression taking place there -- even the U.S. Constitution doesn't allow that. But if a business causes crime or other activities that would be incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood, a city or county can hold that business responsible. What Can I Do To Stop Censorship? ================================= VOTE NO on Measure 19, on November 8th MAKE A CONTRIBUTION to the "NO CENSORSHIP - NO ON 19" Campaign CONTRIBUTIONS may qualify for an Oregon Tax Credit of up to $50 per individual or $100 per joint tax return. Send your contribution TODAY to: "No Censorship - No On 19" P.O. Box 40407, Portland OR 97240. Don't forget to list your type of employment or employer on your check! (State law requires that we report that information.) Authorized by the "No Censorship - No On 19" Committee, P.O. Box 40407, Portland OR 97420 ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher://aclu.org:6601 | American Civil Liberties Union National Office ftp://aclu.org | mailto:infoaclu@aclu.org | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank