The Supreme Court will hear an appeal to upend Texas' age verification law for porn websites

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal from the adult entertainment industry seeking to upend a Texas law that requires pornographic websites to verify the age of their users.

The justices will review an appellate ruling that allowed the age verification to go into effect. Arguments in the legal fight between the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry, and Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who signed House Bill 181 into law, will take place in the fall.

In April, the high court turned aside an emergency appeal asking to put the age verification on hold while the legal fight continues.

Similar age verification laws have passed in other states, including Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia.

The Texas law carries fines of up to $10,000 per violation that could be raised to up to $250,000 per violation by a minor.

Last year, a federal judge blocked the law’s age verification requirement and health warnings, finding that they likely violated the Constitution. In March, a divided panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the age verification ruling, although it upheld the health warnings ruling that adult sites can’t be forced to publish statements with which they disagree.

The health warnings, disputed by the industry, included that pornography is addictive, impairs mental development and increases the demand for prostitution, child exploitation and child sexual abuse images.


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