Sex and the Constitution are not two topics often thought of together.
But University of Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey R. Stone seeks to change that with the publication of “Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century.”
The newly released, 700-page book from the author of the University of Chicago’s seminal Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression is 10 years in the making. Stone’s comprehensive review extends all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans to explain how sex came to be legislated in America.
Professor Stone is our guest on today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast. Fittingly, we met in New York City to discuss the portions of “Sex and the Constitution” dealing with the regulation of sexual expression. It was, after all, in New York City where the YMCA and Anthony Comstock began their campaigns in the 1800s to root out what they deemed obscene, sexually explicit material.
During our conversation, Stone explains how “obscenity” came to be regulated in America and why its legal definition constantly shifts. We also explore other First Amendment issues surrounding sexual expression, including nude dancing and the public funding of art with sexual themes.
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