Oklahoma GOP lawmaker wants to ban single people from sexting each other
Sen. Dusty Deevers' bill would ban adult content, even between consenting non-married adults
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An Oklahoma state senator has introduced a bill that would criminalize sexting anybody other than your spouse as part of a larger effort to ban pornography.
Sen. Dusty Deevers won a special election in December to fill a vacant seat and he’s wasted no time in prosing batshit crazy legislation to impose his Christian views across the state. (This is the same guy who, in 2022, delivered a sermon in which he railed against in vitro fertilization (IVF), said embryos “were incarcerated in frozen prisons,” referred to them as “cryo-orphans,” and urged the audience to love their “embryonic neighbors.”)
One of those bills, SB 1976, involves criminalizing adult content (unless there’s “serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific purposes or value”), and it’s tucked into otherwise sensible provisions prohibiting sexual content involving minors. (Who decides whether something is artistic or educational? The bill doesn’t say. But it’s a very convenient way to make sure reading the Bible, with its incest and sex crimes, isn’t criminalized.)
It’s the fulfillment of a campaign promise Deevers made to “abolish pornography.”
While the bill is 10 pages long, the relevant portions define “unlawful pornography” as any visual depiction or image of sex—including oral sex, anal sex, BDSM, masturbation, or the presentation of uncovered private parts. You can’t make it. You can’t watch it. You can’t receive it.
Then comes the kicker: Just about anyone can file a lawsuit against someone who “produces or distributes” depictions of those acts—making this a Texas-style “bounty law” of sorts. If their lawsuit succeeds in court, the person who filed it would win a reward of at least $10,000 “for each image or depiction produced or distributed within this state.”
The bill also makes it illegal to “distribute any unlawful pornography”… unless you’re married.
Which, in English, means you wouldn’t be able to sext anyone other than your spouse. And if you do (and you’re convicted in court), you face up to 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $25,000.
What about adults who are dating? Doesn’t matter.
What about married couples in open relationships? Doesn’t matter.
What about adults who just enjoy exhibitionism and like sharing nude pictures of themselves online? Doesn’t matter.
Essentially, Oklahomans with an OnlyFans account would be breaking the law despite not harming anybody.
And so would the people who decide to view it. Non-spouse recipients of sexts would also face up to a year behind bars. (Which raises a question of what punishment would befall someone who unintentionally viewed illicit material sent from an encrypted source.) It’s possible the law, if enacted, would also make Twitter/X illegal in the state given all the adult-oriented material that gets posted on there (even if you’re not following that type of content).
This bill goes even further than anything Speaker Mike Johnson has talked about. He hasn’t said he wants to criminalize porn, but he has bragged about spying on his son to make sure he’s not viewing it.
“This bill is broad enough to include any person’s, like butt selfie for example, it includes live performances in play. So that would seem to include strip clubs definitely and maybe also burlesque and drag performances and things like that,” Nolan Brown said.
The fear here is not that this bill will pass—even in Oklahoma—because this almost certainly violates all kinds of First Amendment rulings. The concern is that people like Deevers are on a mission to legislate their personal Christian morality… or at least the version of it they pretend to have in public. (Anyone voting for this bill ought to be fully transparent about their internet search histories.)
It’s straight out of Project 2025, the Christian Nationalist playbook for a future GOP-led government. Even if Deevers’ bill fails, it’s a harbinger of what’s to come if Republicans retake control of Congress and the White House. Just more extremism and a curtailing of freedom.
All of this should concern Oklahomans who have very specific adult-oriented interests, according to PornHub’s 2023 analysis of its visitors.
Incidentally, Deevers’ church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which has a longstanding sexual abuse problem. If he actually cared about victims of sex crimes, he should be going after the predators in his religion, not consenting adults who enjoy pleasure.
It’s also worth mentioning that Deevers himself doesn’t feel very confident about his extremist bills, saying on a podcast last week that he knew they wouldn’t be taken seriously by his fellow Republicans. (It came during a lengthy interview in which he proudly promoted Christian Nationalism.)
… What's the likelihood of them getting passed? Um, that's… that's up to the Lord to determine.
I am just trying to be faithful, and I've been told that leadership is not gonna sniff out… they're not even gonna come close enough to smell these bills. They're not gonna be appropriated to committees. If they are, I'm going to be mocked and shamed.
I've been told that the leadership does not want anything that makes the Senate look undignified, and some of these bills are going to make the Senate look undignified, that we would be arguing over these things…
I assure you that Oklahoma’s Senate will be mocked with or without Deevers’ bills. It sacrificed its dignity a long time ago. But it’s nice to know that there are some lines that even Oklahoma Republicans don’t want to cross.