Democratic vice presidential pick Joseph Lieberman sought to preserve the
rights of cyber-pornographers and those who view their wares in a
proposal he submitted to the Commission on Child Online Protection
earlier this year.
"This idea, which would in effect establish a virtual red-light district
... has a lot of merit," the Connecticut senator told the commission in
June, reported WiredNews.com at the time.
The straight-laced Democrat suggested that the U.S. government organize
rather than oppose the cyber-sex business by creating a new top-level
domain such as ".sex" or ".XXX."
Lieberman, who also voted against the Communications Decency Act, said at
the time he was seeking to shield children from online smut "without
encroaching on the rights of adults to have access to protected speech."
Many see Lieberman as the senator without sin. But his cyber-sex stance
could spell trouble for the Gore campaign, which selected him largely as
the moral antidote to the Oval Office sexcapades of the Clinton era.
It's no secret that Lieberman won the veep sweepstakes largely because of
his September 1998 speech condemining Clinton for carrying on an
"immoral" and "harmful" sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky.
But more recently, some have suggested that his red-light district plan
would actually encourage immorality, making it easier to access the
raunchiest sites on the Web.
"The advantage to this proposal is that it would no longer be necessary
for parents and their children to engage in long and unproductive
searches for hard-core sex," argued one pro-porn backer of Lieberman's
idea. "The truly hard-core sites would be readily available because any
such site would end with dot.sex."