Virginia is the next jurisdiction in the United States to implement a law that requires all adult entertainment websites to have age verification measures in place or face civil action. Similar to age verification laws implemented in states like Utah and
Louisiana, Senate Bill (SB) 1515 was adopted with virtually universal support from lawmakers in both of the state's major political parties. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed SB 1515 into law at the behest of parental rights groups and organizations
that believe that age verification mandates are the best way to prevent minors from viewing age-restricted content, like pornographic sites.
Industry trade group the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has filed suit in federal district courts in both Utah
and Louisiana seeking to render the age verification laws in those states unconstitutional on the grounds of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. FSC director of public affairs Mike Stabile characterized the law in Virginia as dangerous and and said the
organization has reached out to Gov. Youngkin with little results.
The Virginia law suffers from the same technological and constitutional problems as the laws in Utah and Louisiana, Stabile told AVN in an email:
Adult consumers shouldn't have to risk surveillance or secure government approval in order to view legal content in the privacy of their own home.
We are looking at potential suits in every state that has
passed this law, including Virginia.
Adult industry attorney Corey Silverstein told AVN that the new Virgina law is foolish.
Virginia's law, much like Louisiana, Utah, and others are not going to
survive First Amendment challenges. While these politicians are patting themselves on the back for pushing through these blatant speech suppression tools, they seem to have forgotten about the First Amendment that they swore to protect when they took
Virginia's age verification law goes into effect on July 1, 2023.