Florida LGBTQ Parade Canceled After Law Protecting Children Passed

Apr 21, 2023

City officials in Port. St. Lucie, Florida, have canceled an LGBTQ parade and moved to restrict associated events to people 21 years and older after the state legislature passed the “Protection of Children Act,” which protects children from attending “adult live performances” such as drag show events. According to the bill, state officials would be allowed to “fine, suspend or revoke licenses” of any public lodging or food service establishment if they admit a child to an adult live performance. 

The Florida House of Representatives, which passed the bill 82-31, sent it to Governor Ron DeSantis last Wednesday, and he is expected to sign it into law. 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 … lewd conduct … when … taken as a whole, is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for the age of the child present.” 

Alleging children were present during “lewd” displays, Governor DeSantis has already moved to suspend the liquor license of a Miami hotel that hosted a drag show.

The Florida legislature has passed several other measures aimed at protecting children from harmful gender ideology. The House also voted 82-31 to pass SB 254, which makes it a felony criminal offense to provide puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and genital mutilation surgeries to minors. The bill grants the state “temporary emergency jurisdiction” over a child if the child has been subjected to or threatened with sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures. The bill codifies into law rules already approved and put into effect by Florida’s Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine, which stated these procedures “run an unacceptably high risk of doing harm” to children. 

Also, this week, the Florida Board of Education expanded the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which has been in effect since July 2, 2022. The law has been expanded to prohibit classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity to include all grades, instead of just kindergarten through third. School districts are also required to notify parents of any health care services offered at their schools and provide an option to withhold consent to any services. Schools also need parental consent before giving students kindergarten to third grade health screenings or well-being questionnaires. The bill also allows parents to sue school districts if the policy that gives decision-making power back to the parents over their children's education is violated. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Children should not be groomed, exposed to indecent behavior, or sexually exploited. Florida’s legislature, Board of Medicine, and Board of Education have undertaken measures to protect children being exposed to lewd, indecent, and sexually provocative displays.”

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