Bill That Would Punish Businesses For Allowing Children To Attend Drag Shows Heads To DeSantis’ Desk

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A Florida bill that will bar businesses from allowing children to attend drag shows is heading to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

The bill, titled “Protection of Children,” cleared its latest legislative hurdle on Wednesday after it cleared the House of Representatives 82-32 after being approved in the Senate on April 11 in a 28-12 vote, according to the Florida House Representatives’ website. It authorizes government agencies to fine, suspend or revoke the license of any business that “admits a child to an adult live performance.” (RELATED: Here Are The 14 States Moving To Prohibit Sexually Explicit Drag Shows For Minors)

The bill defines “adult live performance” as “any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities,” according to its text.

It was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Randy Fine in the House and by Republican state Sen. Clay Yarborough in the Senate.

“The bill does not ban any business or any public entity from hosting any kind of event or performance,” Yarborough told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Unless an entity is planning to admit children to a live event that would include nudity, sexual conduct, or lewd exposure, there should be no cause for distress about the provisions of this bill. It is a concern for me and other parents and constituents when you have any activity or venue where children are being exposed to nudity and lewd conduct. We are trying to protect children, who cannot un-see, un-hear, or un-experience things they are exposed to.”

The DeSantis administration moved to revoke the liquor license from multiple state venues that hosted a sexually explicit drag show which minors were allowed to attend. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation warned in December 2022 that “exposing children to sexually explicit activity is a crime in Florida” and that such activity would violate its liquor license standards.

The drag shows were part of the “A Drag Queen Christmas” tour that included Christmas song parodies including “Screwdolph the Red Nippled Reindeer” and simulated sex acts. Children were reportedly seen in the audience at multiple stops along the tour.

“Parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit, and government intervention should be a last resort,” Yarborough told the DCNF. “However, as lawmakers, we have a responsibility to protect children from viewing lewd conduct that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in our communities. Therefore, we have to take it seriously when a business or a government entity in our state knowingly admits children to view performances meant for an adult audience.”

DeSantis and Fine did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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