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Florida Senate Votes 28-12 To Ban Children At Drag Shows

Today The Florida Senate voted 28-12 for a bill that would allow the state to revoke the liquor licenses of restaurants and other entertainment venues that let children into drag shows. This is the next step that will now wait for the house conference to pass an already certain law to send to Governor Ron DeSantis. The House version has an amendment that would change the interpretation from just entertainment venues with liquor licenses to any “public performance.” Presumably this could include a prohibition like the example of RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Shangela performing at this week’s Miami Beach Pride. Fortunately, these prohibitions, however, if passed, could not be enforced until later in the year. The constitutional arguments of the bill use language that defines drag performance as “a prurient, shameful, or morbid interest,” or violates what adults deem proper for children to see. The House bill is up for its final committee stop tomorrow before going to the full House. Critics say the language is so broad and vague that it could have a chilling effect on artistic freedom and on what adults can see on Florida stages. Some Florida theater managers are concerned that musicals like “La Cage Aux Folles” and “Kinky Boots” could be targeted. Other opponents of the bill fear that it could also be applied to Gay Pride parades, where people in drag often participate.

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