Politics: Voting on Georgia Amendment 2

So last week I wrote up my thoughts on Georgia’s Amendment 1, and I had several people ask me about amendments 2-4, so I thought I could use the next 3 weeks to cover each one.

I’ll be honest, I am torn on Amendment 2 even more than Amendment 1.  The language for Amendment 2 is more explicit (in my opinion), but I am wrestling with some of the content.  I’m not going to do a big quote of the entire language, you can go look at it here (it’s kind of long).  I will quote portions as I go/as needed.  What is on the ballot is:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional penalties for criminal cases in which a person is adjudged guilty of keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, pandering by compulsion, solicitation of sodomy, masturbation for hire, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, or sexual exploitation of children and to allow assessments on adult entertainment establishments to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative and social services for individuals in this state who have been or may be sexually exploited?

So the first part is pretty simple (and easy to vote “yes” to!) which is to say that additional monetary penalties may be imposed on people dealing in sex trafficking. Basically, if you are selling other people’s bodies for sex, you can be charged money as well as jail time. Ok, this is really easy to say yes to. Who wouldn’t say yes to hitting the check-books of anyone dealing in pedophilia or pimping?

It’s the next section where I am struggling:

[…] and may impose assessments on adult entertainment establishments as defined by law;

So the clarify, an assessment means to value the establishment. How much are they worth. And there are definitions around this (I’m sure).  But… here’s the thing, I don’t know how they define “adult entertainment” and I’m not sure it belongs in the same breath as charging fining pimps. I’m not going to try to un-box the issues around strip clubs, but there is some at-least-grey-area here. There IS a difference between the illegal conduct of selling people and the legal establishment of strip clubs.

However, I do like how the funds are being used:

allocation of such assessments and additional penalties to the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund for the specified purpose of meeting any and all costs, or any portion of the costs, of providing care and rehabilitative and social services to individuals in this state who have been or may be sexually exploited.

THIS is why groups such as Center for Civil & Human rights is supporting this bill. It’s going to fund help for sexually exploited children. Who could possibly vote against this?!? Of course, that is exactly why I think I need to give it a second look.

So I have to ask myself: Do I think it’s appropriate to “fine” legal establishments (and I’m not 100% which establishments it entails – is it just strip clubs or is it anywhere adults-only “entertainment” exists: so are adult novelty shops included?) in order to fund help for sexual abuse victims.

I’ll be entirely honest, I want to vote “yes,” but something inside of me just feels like this is legislating morality (trying to shut down strip clubs through taxes) – and I have a problem with that. I really don’t know how I’m going to vote on this one. Can I make it as simple as “anything that helps victims is good”?

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