Ohio Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Monday in the state House of Representatives that would ban drag shows from places where children could be present.
House Bill 245, if implemented, would ban drag shows in public places like public parks or parades, The Columbus Dispatch reported . The bill would reserve such performances to “adult cabarets,” which include locations such as bars and nightclubs, according to its text.
The bill would also expand the definition of “adult cabaret performers” to include “entertainers who exhibit a gender identity that is different from the performer’s or entertainer’s gender assigned at birth,” the Dispatch reported. (RELATED: Drag Show Demands Audience Tips As Part Of Reparations)
Those who violate the bill could face a first-degree misdemeanor if a minor is present at such performance, or a fifth-degree felony if the performance is deemed “obscene,” according to the bill. Violators could face a fourth-degree felony if a child under the age of 13 is present and the show is obscene.
Republican state Reps. Josh Williams and Angela King are the primary sponsors of the bill, according to its text. There are 44 co-sponsors, the Dispatch reported.
Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a similar bill into law in March, but a U.S. district judge overturned it in June on the basis that it violated the First Amendment right to free speech, according to the Dispatch. Those in opposition of the bill claim it is “too subjective” and that it targets transgender people.
Equality Ohio Policy Director Maria Bruno called the bill “censorship over safety,” according to the Dispatch.
“The Department of Homeland Security has sent out multiple alerts indicating the growing threat of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people,” Bruno said in a statement. “Yet instead of addressing guns, targeted intimidation, or any of the escalations of violence that we are seeing in our communities, Ohio’s statehouse politicians instead have chosen to broadly criminalize performing arts.”
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