Free Speech Coalition Sues Louisiana Over Age Verification Mandate

Free Speech Coalition (FSC), an advocacy organization for the adult industry, has taken legal action against the state of Louisiana over its unconstitutional age-verification law for sites with adult content. In a federal suit filed last night in the Eastern District of Louisiana, FSC challenged the law's constitutionality, asserting that it violates the First Amendment rights of content creators and businesses. The coalition filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the enforcement of the law.

Free Speech Coalition

The lawsuit in Louisiana follows a similar legal challenge brought by FSC in the state of Utah, where unconstitutional restrictions on adult content were also at issue. FSC remains committed to defending the rights of adult businesses and workers against government overreach and censorship.
The plaintiffs in the Louisiana case include Elizabeth Hanson, a military veteran and spouse of an active-duty Coast Guard member residing in Slidell; Andrea Barrica, founder of the sex education platform; Charyn "Ryn" Pfeuffer, a journalist, educator, and content creator; and fan platform JustFor.Fans. These individuals, along with FSC, argue that the age-verification law infringes upon their freedom of expression and impedes their access to legal content.
Under the Louisiana law, the state has the power to impose fines of up to $5,000 per day on sites with adult content. FSC contends that this punitive measure not only violates the First Amendment but also poses a significant burden on businesses and individuals seeking to exercise their rights in the adult industry. The coalition aims to protect the rights of adults to freely access legal content without unnecessary government interference and surveillance. FSC's Executive Director, Alison Boden, emphasizes the importance of keeping minors from accessing adult content but asserts that the current approach of invasive and burdensome age-verification systems is an overreach that amounts to state censorship. Alison Boden of the Free Speech Coalition Appears on Adult Site Broker Talk The coalition highlights the fact that consumers have shown reluctance to engage with such systems, with over 90% abandoning sites that comply with similar laws in other states. The legal action comes after Louisiana passed a law last year allowing for private legal action against adult sites that do not implement age-verification measures. This was followed by a new law signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in June, granting the government the power to directly fine sites without such age verification, with penalties potentially reaching $1 million per year. Jeff Sandman, an attorney for FSC based in New Orleans, underscores the importance of protecting individuals' right to use the internet without undue government surveillance. Sandman points out that requiring users to submit their identification to a government database is fundamentally different from showing an ID in a checkout lane. Alison Boden notes that the adult industry has long cooperated voluntarily with filters and parental control tools to ensure responsible access to adult content. She emphasizes that government-mandated censorship is not the solution and that the courts should reject these restrictive measures to preserve a free and open internet. FSC says that they remain dedicated to safeguarding the rights of adult businesses and individuals, as well as defending the principles of free speech and expression. You can follow the FSC on Twitter at @hfscarmy.

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