Pornography in Utah

So I saw this article where a guy in Utah is given jail time, a fine, and required to wear a GPS tracking anklet for “distributing pornographic material”, which is apparently a third degree felony there, for pasting pictures of locals on naughty images and posting it on the web. A quick search brings up the actual law:

First, I am amazed that any State, even one so conservative as Utah, has such draconian laws. But now, on to the questions:

  1. How much do they prosecute this (how rigid are they on pornography)? For example, are the sexy models draped all over motorcycle magazines illegal? If not, what about Playboy, which on last view did not have women in explicitly sexual positions?

  2. Does this mean that it is illegal to transport a truckload of Hustlers across the state, or do you have to be distributing them locally?

  3. Do any other States have such archaic pornography laws? Are they ever enforced?

Ah, Utah. I loved the time I spent there, but you always had the pervasive feeling that the State wasn’t letting you bxa grown-up. While I was there they tried to prohibit pay cable stations from showing anything remotely sexy – there are channels like HBO, which the cusyomers go out of their way to get, not basic cable. The bill flopped. They also tried to prosecure for fornicaion, but that failed too.
Whemn I arrived in 1983, there were three movie theaters showing X-rated movies in Salt Lake City (One had been operating when I passed through in 1980). Within a few years they were all closed down, but I believe it was for non-porn issues, the same way the Jocord Bar, wit its strippers, was shut down for having asbestos on its premises. Prosecutors got creative when it was demanded of them.
Nevertheless, sex continued and continues to sell in Utah. The magazine stores on Main Street openly sold Playboy, Penthouse, and harder fare, and used-book shops sold back issues. There were also places up near Roy Utah, near the Air Force Base, that sold such things, all without interference. When Vanna white showed up on the cover of Playnboy, the magazine store in Salt Lake filled the front window with them.
And there were strippers in SLC and Roy and elsewhere. They just couldn’t strip very far – they could basically peel down to a bikini (although one creative stripper still managed to pick up her dollar bill yips with her unaided breasts, even with a bra on.) The places couldmn’t serve anything stronger than 3.2 beer. This shows how desperate people were. Wendover, Nevada – which, I’m convinced, was in business because it was the closest place to Salt Lake on the Nevada border – was a two hour drive across the Salt Lake Desert to gambling, alcohol, and shows featuring scantily=-clad women (but not prostitution, which was illegal there)
In Salt Lake itself, they bowdlerized the plays. I saw Amadeus at Pioneer Memorial Theater with the lnguage slashed considerably, which was absurd – the point was that Mozaart WAS childishly potty-mouthed. If you cut that, there’s not much of a issue. What’s Salieri got to complain about? KBYU, the Brigham Young University-affiliated PBS station, cut sections out of shows, including Sherlock Holmes (!). KUED, the University of Utah station, didn’t.
But you could get magazines and books. Video stores carried surprisingly hard “R” rated films. There was even a semi-underground set of escort services. adult industries existed in Utah, but pared down and toned down or very sub rosa.

After reading the article, flight it looks like they went after him because of the people he hurt more so than the actual pornography. I know nothing about Utah law so I’m guessing that maybe they didn’t have anything else they could charge him with so they used that particular statute.

I’ve spent some time in utah. As some of you know I’ve vacationed in every state in the union except Hawaii, and that’s next! (hell yes I’m bragging;) )

I don’t recall seeing any porno being sold, though I wasn’t looking for it. But if they control it like they control booze sales it’s probably pretty strict. Liquor laws there were very odd for a Cheese Head

Of course, there’s another Utah/porn connection now that’s starting to creep into the news: though Marriott is now headquartered in Washington DC, it was founded by a family of Mormons from Utah, and is still largely run by Mormons. That’s why Mormon Mitt Romney is on their board of directors.

Well, business is business, and Marriott (like almost all the big hotel chains) offers porn on their televisions.

So, while Mormons may have made porn harder to obtain in Utah, some of them are quite willing to sell it to hotel customers.

And Mitt Romney is being pressed on this, both by liberals who enjoy making him look hypocritical) and by religious conservatives, who’ve never quite trusted him. After all, there’s no indication he ever had a problem with Marriott’s porn biz, or that he ever threatened to step down over it.

A few years ago there was a case of a video store owner charged with distributing porn, and part of his defense was that there was a Marriot hotel nearby which was offerred the same videos as what he was arrested for.

I didn’t ever hear the outcome, so I don’t know how effective the defense was.

In fairness to Mitt Romney, anyone who has ever seen the adult features offered on the Marriot’s in room movies would have a lot of trouble calling it porn. Now Finland and France, you can get some good hotel porn there, but the stuff in the big chains in the US is like that Welch’s Grape Juice that some denominations try to pass off as communion wine.

You should see the alcohol laws, although I believe a large number of them got relaxed around the time of the Winter Olympics in SLC a few years back.

Not relaxed, exactly… hotels in Utah have always had ways around liquor laws. For instance, even in places where bars are illegal, it’s still okay to serve alcohol at private social clubs.

So, if you stay at a hotel in Utah, the hotel may offer you temporary membership in a Hotel Social Club, which would authorize you to have a few drinks in a special area of the hotel.

It looks like a bar and quacks like a bar, but technically, it’s a social club!

I went to SLC a year and a half back looking at the convention center for a conference. We saw a video from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and every other shot was of people drinking at dinner or at a bar. They’re clearly sensitive about the issue.

It was actually looser than Oklahoma City in the mid-80s, where you signed up for a club at your hotel to be able to drink.

That helps explain, I think, why Marriot is the only major hotel chain to be 100% non-smoking. If I ever manage to quit smoking, I shall try to smuggle in a bottle of Scotch and report results.

On my only trip to Utah, I found myself in a Salt Lake City dive called “The Dead Goat”. I didn’t pay a cover charge, mind you. The $4 I paid at the door was a membership fee to join the club. Cool [del]bar[/del] social club with a good band the nights I was there.

If you haven’t already tried it, the new magic bullet, a drug called Chantix, is available by prescription. It has worked for a number of long-time, hard-line smokers. Smokefree day 125 for me today. :smiley:

OK, I do know about the alcohol prohibitions. I have a French friend who moved there for a job and had quite a culture shock. As you say, in order to enter a bar you had to be a member, but for the bars he went to it was not a cheap, “pay the bouncer and now you’re a member” thing. It was a multi-page application where you listed, among other things, where you worked and who your supervisor was. Strange.

Anyway, it seems that people are saying that, at least a couple years ago, you could get skin mags at the newsstand. This is blatantly against the law, so do they just ignore it? Is that still the case? Also, it is hard to believe how the specific case in question was “hurting people” to have cheap Photoshops done on them. If it was, then they should have sued under defamation statutes.