Virginia law that took effect on July 1 requires users of pornography websites to prove they are 18 or older, prompting Pornhub to block the website in Virginia over concerns of legal liability due to the law. 

The law, which was widely supported by both Republicans and Democrats in the state’s General Assembly, was put forth by Republican state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. It mandates that pornographic websites verify age by making users provide a digital copy of their ID. 

The law “creates a civil cause of action for any commercial entity that knowingly or intentionally publishes or distributes on the Internet material harmful to minors, as defined in the bill, and that does not take reasonable steps to verify that the age of a person attempting to access such material harmful to minors is 18 years of age or older,” according to a summary of the bill. 

Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin backed the measure, with a spokesperson saying that he was “committed to protecting Virginia’s children from dangerous material on the internet.”

The law was opposed by Pornhub, which said they supported other ways of age verification. 

“As you may know, your elected officials in Virginia are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you to access our website,” Pornhub’s website in Virginia reads. “While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, giving your ID card every time you want to visit an adult platform is not the most effective solution for protection of our users, and in fact, will put children and your privacy at risk.” 

On Friday, Democrat state Sen. L. Louis Lucas asked on Twitter if “anyone else’s Pornhub not working?” She followed that up by saying, “I told you all I am not your typical grandma!”

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Lucas, the president pro tempore of the state Senate, then critiqued Youngkin over the law. 

“In all seriousness, we passed a bill during this session to protect children from online porn.  However, the executive branch had an obligation to create a system for age verification,” she said. “Instead the Governor sat on his ass and relied on these websites with porn to do the verification process.  This is a massive security risk to the personal information of (millions?!?!) of Virginians.”

The Free Speech Coalition, an organization that describes itself as “a nonprofit trade association for the adult industry,” critiqued Virginia’s law by saying that it was too vague, adding that it might pursue legal action. 

Exodus Cry, a Christian non-profit that works to help women and others impacted by sex trafficking, praised the enactment of the law, which is similar to the ones that have been passed in Louisiana and Utah. 

“The less Pornhub is accessible, the better! These age verification laws have been a long time coming and we’re celebrating every state that moves to protect children from the violent, dehumanizing porn which saturates the online world,” the organization said on Instagram.

A similar age verification law in Mississippi went into effect on July 1.

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