The Utah State Legislature will abide by ‘Deadpool’ ruling on liquor laws

Posted at 3:29 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 18:06:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature appears poised to accept a federal court ruling on Utah liquor laws and the movie “Deadpool.”

Senate Bill 236, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, modifies Utah liquor laws on sexual content to carve out situations that led to a lawsuit over the R-rated comedy. The Salt Lake City movie theater sued Utah after it was threatened with revocation of its liquor license for showing the movie “Deadpool.” Utah liquor laws forbade licensees from showing full frontal nudity or explicit sexual conduct.

A federal judge sided with Brewvies, ruling state law violated the First Amendment. Sen. Stevenson’s bill cleans up that law and complies with the court ruling. It rules that depicting conduct “does not apply to artistic expression that: when taken as a whole, has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; is not in violation of state or federal law regarding pornography or obscenity; and occurs on premises or at an event regulated by the commission under this title that is not predominantly used for performances by sexually oriented entertainers.”

The rule would not apply to strip clubs, but it appears to apply to theaters. The Eccles Theater downtown was prohibited from allowing patrons to take beer into the theater during the “Book of Mormon” because there was simulated genitalia in the show.

The bill was introduced in the Senate on Tuesday.