Male State Senators Voted Against a Bill That Would’ve Banned Unsolicited Dick Pics

Apparently sending unsolicited nudes is a right protected by the First Amendment

statue of david
But if we ban dick pics, HOW will we text each others pictures of the Statue of David?
Maremagnum/Getty Images

Banning the sending of unsolicited nudes seems like a no-brainer. Are unsolicited dick pics the greatest threat to our nation at the moment? No, probably not. But is there any harm to come from banning them? None that I can see — unless, of course, you are a person who would like to continue virtually assaulting others by sending them intimate photos without their consent. A certain group of male state senators from Virginia, however, would beg to differ, arguing that banning unsolicited dick pics actually threatens everything from the First Amendment to Renaissance art.

Legislation proposed by Virginia Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler that would have banned “cyber-flashing” was voted down Wednesday in a Senate committee despite previously passing by a 99-0 vote in the Virginia House of Delegates, according to Virginia Mercury. Eight senators voted against the bill, apparently over concerns that the proposed legislation was too broad and could be easily abused or misapplied to other nude images, such as nude art.

“I could see a situation where boyfriends and girlfriends are trading pictures of themselves,” said Senator Scott Surovell. “And the relationship goes bad. And then a week or two or three later somebody’s swearing out a warrant saying ‘hey he keeps sending me this’ or ‘she keeps sending me that.’ And now there’s misdemeanor charges and lawyers involved.”

Others worried that the ban might extend to nude art, with Senator Chap Petersen reportedly “wonder[ing] aloud” whether the bill would make it illegal for someone to text an unsolicited photo of Michelangelo’s “David.”

Senator Joe Morrissey, meanwhile, expressed extreme concern over the bill’s threat to First Amendment rights. “To say that this bill has First Amendment limitations is the understatement of this session,” Morrissey said. “Whatever the laudable intent is here, it is a bad bill that has Herculean constitutional problems.”

Such fears ultimately led senators to shoot down the bill, despite the fact that Convirs-Fowler was clear that her bill would apply only to unsolicited photos of an “obscene” nature, which would obviously not include Renaissance art. The Virginia delegate proposed the bill after speaking with fellow real-estate agents who claimed receiving unsolicited nude photos was a recurring issue in their lives, as their phone numbers are often public information that certain people apparently can’t seem to help abusing. In an interview Thursday, Convirs-Fowler also cited a 2017 YouGov survey that found 53% of millennial women reported receiving an unsolicited photo of a penis.

“I think that perhaps the senate doesn’t understand the issue, doesn’t understand it’s a widespread issue. I think it’s a denial of a problem that’s there,” she said. Convirs-Fowler was also quick to point out that all eight of the senators who voted against the bill were men.

“HB2254 was a bill to make d**k pics illegal. It just died in the Senate,” she tweeted on Wednesday. “Yes, it was all men voting to kill this bill.”

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