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Champion of rights stands up for trade.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Diane Duke says the distance between her old job in Eugene and her new job in greater Los Angeles is not that far - at least not philosophically.

For 12 years, Duke worked in top administrative positions at Planned Parenthood Health Services in Eugene, the last two as senior vice president. But last year she moved to Los Angeles, where she accepted a new post as executive director of the Free Speech Coalition.

Translation: Duke oversees the adult entertainment industry's national trade association.

Duke, 46, says her new role is consistent with her long-held political views. "I consider myself a true feminist - that is, I promote the right of women to make choices about their bodies and their lives," she says.

Duke says she was skeptical when her partner first encouraged her to apply for the job. But after talking to coalition board members about First Amendment issues, governmental intrusions and "sex-positive feminism," Duke says she was raring to go.

In her first nine months on the job, Duke says she's spoken at an international conference in Portugal about Web site domains, helped craft amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, and advised major corporations on the risks and rewards of getting into the adult entertainment industry.

On its Web site, the Free Speech Coalition provides a place for people to report suspected incidents of illegal child pornography. The site also promotes an industry code of ethics; members are encouraged to "run responsible companies that comply with the law" and to "inform consumers about healthy adult sexuality."

Duke disputes the notion that pornography is exploitative of women. Such a view is grounded, she says, in a "deeply rooted gender bias" that always sees women as sexual objects, never as sexual subjects.

`The better question is, `Why are our government and anti-adult entertainment zealots afraid of women as sexual beings?' ' she says.

Duke says most of her friends were taken aback when they learned of her new job. "I have to admit, this move has caused many who know me and understand my passion for human and civil rights to question their preconceived notions," she says.

The civil rights of people in the adult entertainment business are violated on a daily basis, Duke says.

"The government counts on a shame-based, sex-phobic society to turn a blind eye to its attack on our most basic constitutional rights," she says. "I, for one, am honored and proud to be a part of this industry."

- Jeff Wright
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Title Annotation:Religion; Free Speech Coalition's Diane Duke takes on "anti-adult entertainment zealots"
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 26, 2007
Previous Article:BATTLING PORN from the pulpit.

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