Gov. signs bill pressuring sex ad sellers into law

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that goes after classified advertising companies that don't demand ID before allowing sex-related ads to be published.

The measure is one of more than 100 bills that Gregoire pledged to sign into law Thursday.

The law says that classified advertising company workers who publish or disseminate sex-related ads depicting children are subject to criminal prosecution. Proof of a good-faith attempt to verify the age of the advertised child is a valid defense under the law.

The law's primary target is Backpage.com, which operates an online clearinghouse for sex escorts.

Backpage.com parent company Village Voice Media argues that the law runs afoul of federal rules granting broad protections to websites for speech made by third parties. It has vowed to contest the law.