May 4, 2023 - Politics

Porn sites threaten Virginia blockade if Youngkin signs age verification bill

animation of an XXX neon sign being powered off

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

The porn industry is warning Virginians could lose access to adult sites if Gov. Glenn Youngkin signs strict new age verification legislation currently on his desk.

Driving the news: That's exactly what happened this week in Utah when a similar bill went into effect.

  • Pornhub.com now opens on devices in Utah with a message that states the company has "made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah," reports Axios' Erin Alberty.

What they're saying: Virginia's proposed law requires sites verify users are 18, but the state does not yet offer a digital ID that companies can tap into, said Mike Stabile, a spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition, an adult industry trade group.

The other side: Youngkin’s press secretary, Macaulay Porter, disputed the notion that it would be difficult for sites to comply with the law without a state-provided digital ID.

Of note: The DMV has said it plans to role out digital IDs later this year, but a spokeswoman says they will be used for in-person identification only.

Between the lines: It sounds like Youngkin is inclined to sign the bill, which passed with near unanimous support.

  • “The governor is committed to protecting Virginia’s children from dangerous material on the internet,” Porter said.
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