Utah declares pornography a public health hazard

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Utah To Declare Pornography A Health Hazard

April 19 (Reuters) - Utah on Tuesday declared pornography a public health hazard and mandated that computer technicians who find child pornography on a computer to report it to law enforcement authorities in Republican-backed moves supported by the Mormon Church.

SEE ALSO: Outrage after student wore KKK costume in class

The resolution declares pornography an epidemic that normalizes violence against women and children and makes men less likely to want to get married.

It was signed by Republican Governor Gary Herbert after being passed by the Republican-led legislature in the conservative and heavily Mormon state with the support of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, backed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Related: Recent protests against the Mormon church's political stances:

29 PHOTOS
Mormon church same-sex policy protests
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Utah declares pornography a public health hazard
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters walk past the historic Mormon temple after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters walk past the historic Mormon temple after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protestors hold pride flags and signs in front of the Historic Mormon Temple on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Piles of letters from people who resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children are seen in a mailbox on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Standing in front of a pride flag with the historic Mormon Temple in the background people have their picture taken after they resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A pride flag flies in front of the Historic Mormon Temple as part of a protest where people resigned from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People hold protest signs in City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park and fill out papers to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: With the World Headquarters of the Mormon church in the background, Krystal Rogers Nielson holds her letter of resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People march from City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People wait in line to submit their letter to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: With the historic Mormon Salt Lake Temple in the background, Chris Wade, (R) and Sam Wade (L) laugh as they wait in line to submit their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People march from City Creek Park down State Street in downtown Salt Lake after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: The Putnam family fills out papers to submit their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A woman holds a protest sign in City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protestors hold pride flags and signs in front of the Historic Mormon Temple on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A woman waits in line with her letter of resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A man holds a protest sign in City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Jennifer Frodsham, (L) submits paperwork to attorney Mark Naugle, (R) to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Ted Thompson submits his resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: The Mormon Churches historic Salt Lake temple and the world headquarters of the church is seen from City Creek Park, where a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children took place on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protestors hold pride flags and signs in front of the Historic Mormon Temple on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People line up to submit their letter to attorney Mark Naugle, to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Patricia Peterson hold her letter of resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
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"The volume of pornography in our society is staggering," Herbert said at a bill signing ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah's capital. "I want to protect our families and our young people."

Supporters said Utah's moves would help combat human trafficking, pornography addiction and rape.

The resolution calls on the state legislature to research the impact of pornography and invest in education and efforts to prevent its production and use. It declares pornography "a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms."

Herbert also signed a bill requiring technicians who find child pornography while working on someone's computer to report it, making it a misdemeanor for them to fail to do so.

At the signing ceremony, anti-pornography activist Jennifer Brown said viewing pornography derails healthy emotional and physical development in children and adolescents and fosters addition to it. She called the pornography industry an "empire of destruction" driven by financial greed.

"Pornography is more dangerous than secondhand smoke," Brown said. "If we can go against second-hand smoke and make such a difference, we can go against the pornography industry."

The Free Speech Coalition, an industry association representing adult entertainment producers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Utah measures.

Elder Jeffrey Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the Mormon Church's governing bodies, last month delivered the keynote address to the anti-pornography coalition's annual meeting, calling pornography a plague that tears the moral fabric of society.

Related: Celebrities you might not have known were Mormons:

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15 celebrities you didn't know were Mormon
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(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

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In 2009, a study by Harvard Business School professor Benjamin Edelman showed that Utah had the highest per-capita rate of purchasing online adult-entertainment subscriptions in the United States.

Since the study was released, some Utah groups, including the website FairMormon.org, have disputed its results and questioned its methodology. (Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Editing by Will Dunham)

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