DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Children From Drag Shows


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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Wednesday that will punish businesses if they allow children to attend drag shows.

The “Protection of Children” bill was presented to the governor after clearing the state Senate 28-12 and the state House of Representatives 82-32 in April, according to the Florida House of Representatives website. Businesses are not allowed under the new law to permit children inside of drag shows held at their venues, and government agencies are authorized to impose fines, suspensions or revoke the licenses of violating businesses. (RELATED: Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Restricting Drag Shows For Children)

“Adult entertainment, people can do what they want with some of that, but to have minors there, I mean you’ll have situations where you’ll have an 8-year-old girl there where you have these really explicit shows and that is just inappropriate,” DeSantis said during a Wednesday press conference ahead of the bill signing.

“Adult live performances” are defined 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. Any person who “knowingly” admits a child into such performance can be subjected to a first degree misdemeanor.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation reminded businesses in December 2022 that “exposing children to sexually explicit activity is a crime in Florida” and that it violates the state’s liquor license standards.

“We’ve taken some action administratively already against some of the offending establishments, but the reality is we needed the legislature to come in and really, really clarify that if you are an establishment that’s having adult performances, you have an obligation to make sure that these young kids are not permitted in the premises, and we’re going to hold you accountable if you’re not meeting that obligation,” DeSantis said.

A Christmas-theme drag show toured through multiple Florida cities that included sexually explicit scenes while children were reportedly in the audience. The performers sang parodies of popular Christmas songs such as “Screwdolph the Red Nippled Reindeer” and depicted sex acts.

“When you have adult entertainment, when you have these sexually explicit performances, there should not be any of these kids there and this is going to make sure that that’s the case,” DeSantis said.

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